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Max Verstappen: Hopefully 33 won’t be back on the car next year

Max Verstappen debuted his number 1 in a Red Bull promotional shoot, saying he hopes his usually 33 won’t make a return next year.

Winning last year’s World title, Verstappen ending Lewis Hamilton’s reign with a last-lap pass at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, the Dutchman announced he would put the number 1 on his car.

The championship winner has the choice to either run their usual race number or take the 1.

1 hasn’t been on the grid since 2014 when Sebastian Vettel ran it after his win, for Red Bull, in the 2013 championship.

But losing the title to Mercedes’ Hamilton, Formula 1 also lost the 1 as Hamilton opted to stick with his 44 and, when his team-mate Nico Rosberg won in 2016, he retired days later so there was no defending champ racing in 2017.

Verstappen said immediately after his title win that he wanted the number 1.

The 24-year-old drove a car that was decked out with it for the first time during a recent Red Bull promotion.

“I don’t even realise it was on the car,” he said with smile.

“How many times do you get the opportunity to swap, and number one is the best number out there.

“For me it was very straightforward to pick the number 1.

“And hopefully 33 won’t be back on the car next year!”

Verstappen debuted his number ‘1’ in a short clip released by Red Bull where the Dutchman was running an RB12 on snow and ice in Zell am See, Austria.

“This was my first time on ice with a Formula 1 car and I’ve been really looking forward to it,” he said. “It was very interesting and it’s quite slippery, so you have to be careful.

“Everything is very cold, including the brakes, and racing cars are obviously not designed to drive on the ice, which makes it even more difficult, but it was a lot of fun.”

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