Verstappen currently splits the Mercedes drivers at the top of the F1 drivers’ standings, trailing Lewis Hamilton by 47 points, with Bottas a further three points behind.
Verstappen has regularly moved to downplay his chances of winning the championship in 2020 given Mercedes’ dominant form, with the German manufacturer having won six of the opening seven races of the year.
The Dutchman could only qualify fifth for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday as Red Bull struggled on the low downforce Monza circuit, finishing nine-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pole time.
Asked about his targets through the remainder of the season, Verstappen said that he will “probably end up third anyway in the championship”, and admitted he did not expect to be beating Bottas.
“I’m already surprised that I’m second,” Verstappen said.
“We’re very consistent and I think we overperformed a few times, and obviously the win we had helped out a bit.
“From my side, I never felt like I’m fighting for a championship. I’m just losing at least seven points every weekend, and of course initially when it’s like 20, 30 points, it still looks like you’re in a fight.
“But now it’s already 47, and tomorrow it’s going to be even more. It’s going to be in the 50s I guess.
“I never said that I was…