TALENT OF THE CENTURY? Max Verstappen claims he does not have his eye on the 2016 F1 driver's championship. Image: AP / Emilio Morenatti
Italy - Max Verstappen has played down his chances of taking on Mercedes' might for the 2016 world championship.
Despite driving for Toro Rosso for the first four races of 2016, the 18-year-old has just ten fewer points than Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Earlier in July 2016, Verstappen collected the prestigious Lorenzo Bandini trophy in Italy, but played down his hopes of bridging the 78 point deficit to Nico Rosberg's lead.
Verstappen told the Italian news agency Mediaset: "I lost a lot of points in the first few races but I think at the moment the Mercedes are just too strong.
"Too many things would have to happen for me to fight for the world championship. But from third to sixth place is very close and I'm focused on being in the best position possible."
READ: F1 teen star Verstappen treated himself to a Porsche GT3 RS
He is also quoted by Spain's El Confidencial as saying: "Our main goal is to keep reducing the gap to Mercedes, and we can overtake Ferrari in the constructors' championship.
"Those are our main goals."
Verstappen thinks it is a very real target for Red Bull to now establish itself as a consistently stronger force than Ferrari.
"I'm sorry to say it here (in Italy)," Max was quoted as saying by Marca sports newspaper, "but while we started the championship behind Ferrari, we are ahead of them and now the target is to reach Mercedes."