Verstappen ready to be champion in 2017

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes Max Verstappen is ready to become F1 world champion in 2017, such is his rate of progress.

Verstappen was only promoted to Red Bull after four races of the 2016 season, replacing Daniil Kvyat who had struggled at the start of the year. Verstappen duly won his first race for the team in Spain, and went on to finish fifth in the drivers' championship after a number of impressive drives.

Marko told the official Formula One website Verstappen's rate of improvement means he is ready to deliver a world championship given a competitive car next season.

"He just needs the right car," Marko said. "But that goes for both our drivers - either can be champion next year - so hopefully we can deliver.

"Staying with Max, when I first met him he was 15 - a 15-year-old boy with the maturity of a 26-year-old man and an unbelievable self-confidence. Since then three years have passed and he’s had a sensational learning curve. He doesn’t make mistakes twice - so he is definitely ready for the title fight. There is no need for any more extra preparation: he knows the name of the game!"

And Marko believes Verstappen has very few weaknesses but is already working on ironing out has biggest faults.

"Let’s turn it around: ask for weaknesses. No weaknesses aside from the fact that he is sometimes not patient enough. He sometimes tries to force situations his way when all he has to do is wait a bit and it will fall into his lap. But this change is already in the making!"

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