IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 18: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 18, 2021 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202104180380 // Usage for editorial use only //

Verstappen: You have to believe you can beat anyone

IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 18: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 18, 2021 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202104180380 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen believes that drivers who do not feel they can beat “anyone out there” should not be racing in Formula 1.

The Dutchman has been known for his competitive spirit since making his debut in the sport back in 2015 and has finally been able to showcase that in a title fight so far this season.

After six races Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are separated by just four points at the top of the drivers’ championship, with each delivering stunning performances at various points to take victories.

Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, prior to this season Red Bull had not been able to provide him with a car of consistently challenging for race wins and sustaining a title bid.

Speaking during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, which he looked set to win before a late tyre failure, Verstappen said that any driver in F1 needed to believe they are the best in order to compete and that those who do not should stop.

“A racing car has a steering wheel and two pedals,” he told the BBC. “That’s what you can control.

“As a driver, you always have to believe that you are the best. And do I? Of course.

“We race each other hard. And I think that’s exactly how you want it to be, isn’t it?

“You have to believe you can beat anyone out there. If you really think that’s not possible, then it’s better to stop, because it’s never going to work out.”

F1 returns later this month for the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, where Verstappen and Hamilton will renew their battle for the 2021 title.