Christian Horner on Max Verstappen stealing Lewis Hamilton’s record

Max Verstappen has admitted that he could retire when his current deal at Red Bull Racing concludes in 2028.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has noted that Max Verstappen is still a huge “distance away” from claiming an unprecedented eighth Drivers’ Championship, something which see him eclipse seven-time World Champions Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

The reigning World Champion is set to clinch his third consecutive championship this weekend at the Qatar Grand Prix, a feat he can achieve in Saturday’s sprint race.

Very little is in the way to stop Verstappen, who has been superior all season.

He’s very much the dominant driver in the current era of the sport, which will change in 2026 when the new power unit regulations are introduced.

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Given how impressive the 26-year-old currently is, some have pondered whether the Red Bull driver can become an eight-time World Champion.

The earliest Verstappen could achieve this is in 2028, but to do so he’d need to win the title every season for the next five years.

Winning three consecutive titles in itself is a massive achievement, whereas eight in a row just seems unrealistic.

Even Horner appears to recognise this himself, with him focusing more on the “pretty select club” Verstappen will join when he wins his third title.

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“Eight is a huge amount of distance away,” Horner told Sky Sports.

He added: “There are not many drivers with more than three [titles]. You’ve got Sebastian [Vettel], Alain Prost, [Juan-Manuel] Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton,” said Horner.

“It’s a pretty select club he’ll enter when he wins his third world title.

“For him, he’s just an out-and-out racer. I know he’s proud of what he’s doing and achieving, but he’s forward-looking.

“He’s not rearward looking and I think that for him it’s about the next race. There is still six races to go this year and I know he’s motivated to try and win all of them.”

2028, of course, is also the year Verstappen’s contract expires, with him not set yet on signing a new deal.

He’s expressed multiple times that he could retire from F1 when his current contract concludes, due to wanting to compete in other championships.

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As well as that, it’s well known that the star is becoming frustrated with the constantly changing format and the expanding calendar, to things which could force him into an early retirement at just 31 years old.

“I do like racing, I do like winning. I know that of course the salary and everything, you have a good life, but is it actually a good life? I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff,” Verstappen said back in April, as reported by The Express.

“I know that I have a contract until the end of 2028, and then we’ll review again. But I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, then it’s time for a change.”