Max Verstappen says he exceeded even his own expectations in his debut campaign in Formula 1 after scooping up a multitude of post-season awards.
Although the Dutch teenager's ascent to the top flight after only one year of single-seater racing was roundly criticised, he showed that Toro Rosso's decision to make him the youngest driver in F1 history was the right one as he won over fans in the paddock and the media for his impressive season.
Verstappen picked up the Rookie of the Year title at the FIA awards for finishing 12th in the overall F1 drivers' standings, with the highlights of two fourth place finishes at Hungary and the US respectively, before returning to the stage to collect the Personality of the Year and best action moment of the season awards.
On top of that Verstappen has been nominated for the prestigious Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award and is being touted as a potential future F1 world champion.
Reflecting on his meteoric rise in 2015, the youngster says he wasn't fazed by entering the F1 scene so early but did admit he surpassed his own expectations for what he wanted to achieve.
“I never thought about my age and that I was the youngest driver on the grid. You just have to always believe in yourself and I just did what I was used to doing in F3 and go-karting,” Verstappen said. “Of course you question yourself a bit and ask 'can I do it?', but this happens in any racing series.
“I think so, a little bit. I scored more points than I expected, so in that respect it's definitely been better than I thought at the start of the year. I'm very happy with that. I'd say I've also been very consistent throughout the year, something that's not always easy to achieve during a rookie year.”
The 18-year-old has also picked out his performance at the United States Grand Prix as his standout moment in 2015 where in the testing dry-to-wet conditions he scythed through the field to take his second fourth place finish of the year and hailed it 'his most complete drive'.
“I've had many good moments, which also makes me very happy,” he explained. “If I have to choose one, I think Austin was my best race – very complete, quick and clean moves, and finished in P4.”