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Verstappen likens podiums with Merc drivers to being 'third wheel'

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Max Verstappen said sharing the podium with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas without being the winner so often this year has felt like being the third wheel on a date with a couple.

Verstappen has been the closest challenger to the Mercedes, with one victory and eight other appearances on the podium. At each of those eight appearances, Hamilton or Bottas won the race.

"It's nice to be on the podium but at the end of the day being there as you know as the third guy it's a bit like you're third-wheeling if you go out for dinner -- it's not very lovely," Verstappen said ahead of Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix. "I prefer to be the one having a nice romantic dinner rather than being the third wheel."

"You just don't want to be walking around frustrated trying to get results which are not possible -- that's what I am trying to do. I just keep pushing myself, keep trying to get the best possible result what's within the car. Every weekend again the same."

Since the Italian Grand Prix in September, Verstappen has failed to finish three races. Despite those retirements he is happy with how the campaign has gone so far.

"I think the retirements, of course, are not great but overall I think we've been on the podium so there's not much more I can do. Mercedes is just too dominant this season. The most realistic place we are in is third all the time. We've basically done that or done even better in some races so I can't complain about that so it's been alright."