Red Bull's Max Verstappen is well on his way to a second consecutive World Championship, sitting 109 points clear of his nearest rival and teammate Checo Perez.
With just seven races remaining, it would take a catastrophic collapse from the Dutchman to deny him the Driver's Championship.
Last year, Max Verstappen was crowned world champion in arguably the most dramatic terms of all time, beating Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the penultimate race of the year, in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen has won 10 races already this year, including four on the bounce. A fortnight ago, the reigning world champion came from P14 to win in the Belgian Grand Prix.
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 4, 2022
Former driver and current advisor to Red Bull Racing, Helmut Marko has said that he wouldn't be surprised if Verstappen retired at the end of his contract. Verstappen's current deal runs out in 2028, when he will be 31, but Marko has said that he could retire "sooner than we all think".
Helmut Marko on Max Verstappen potentially retiring early
Speaking to PlanetF1, Marko explained his views on a potential early retirement for Verstappen, saying:
We want to win more titles together
But I doubt if we will see Max drive until he has broken all records.
He could make it, but he’s also the type of person who packs his things and leaves when he no longer feels like it. No matter how much you offer him, he won’t stay.
And that could happen sooner than we all think
Marko has also compared Verstappen to legendary driver Aryton Senna, saying:
Max doesn’t need a build-up phase to be at the limit right away. He can go full steam straight away. That’s just the incredible natural talent, which results in an exceptional base speed.
In addition, he has fantastic car control, especially when he’s driving at the limit. That’s why I compared him to Ayrton Senna in his early years, although I didn’t make friends with that.
My good friend Gerhard Berger said at the time the comparison was far-fetched, but today he no longer contradicts the comparison between Max and Senna.
Even should he retire in 2028, who could argue that Verstappen won't beat the record held by Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher who both sit on seven world championships.