Verstappen targets breakthrough F1 podium in 2016

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Max Verstappen has set his sights on a breakthrough podium finish in Formula 1 next season after ending 2015 as the series’ top rookie.

Verstappen made his grand prix debut at the age of 17 in Australia, but quickly proved his youth was not a sign of ill preparation by scoring points in just his second race.

The Dutchman went on to finish the year 12th in the drivers’ championship, recording two fourth-place finishes in Hungary and the USA.

With his place on the grid now confirmed after Toro Rosso secured an engine deal for 2016, Verstappen has now firmly set his sights on an improved sophomore campaign and hopes to score his first podium finish.

“I want to do better than this year in every way,” Verstappen told his official website.

“I want to qualify better, score more points and finish higher. I’m raising the bar a lot so I’m aiming for double the amount of points and a podium.

“As a driver you always want to learn, but you also want to show your speed. I think that I managed to find the right balance, but you can always improve, in every area and it’s never done.

“I can still develop as a driver as well as physically but experience is the most important. The latter builds up over time but then it’s a case of using it.”

Verstappen was the biggest winner at the FIA’s end of season gala in Paris on Friday night, taking home the Rookie, Personality and Action of the Year awards.