Max Verstappen is seen as the biggest threat to Lewis Hamilton's push for an eighth world title in 2021, but the Dutchman isn't ready to make any definitive predictions just yet.
Red Bull looked like the team to beat during testing in Bahrain, with Mercedes struggling with various issues. While it remains to be seen whether the Silver Arrows were holding their cards close to their chest, or the Milton Keynes outfit are really on top, Verstappen believes the 2021 campaign will play out in one of three ways.
"There are three options," Verstappen told Ziggo Sport. "Either your car is heavily dominant and it is only between you and your teammate. The second option is that we are very close to Mercedes and it will be a nice battle every race. And then you have the third option, which is like last year. That you are close to it, but just not close enough and so you can sometimes compete for a race win."
Verstappen himself still believes that Mercedes are the team to beat even though they've tried to put the pressure on Red Bull.
"Of course they try to place us in that favourite role because things didn't go as well," Verstappen added. "If they succeed again, then that will all be 'fantastic'. They did that a few times last year after the Friday training sessions - shouting that Red Bull looks strong. But deep down they already knew that this was not the case and they just stood there again on Saturday afternoon.
"I don't see myself as the title favourite at all either. When you are so dominant over the last seven years and with even with these rule changes, you are still good even with the worst floor. So I still see Mercedes as the favourite."