Pushing to the Max: Verstappen a rookie no more

    Story highlights

    • Max Verstappen: "I enjoy being on limit"
    • Teenager says he will remain aggressive on track
    • The Dutchman feels like he is no longer a rookie

    Max Verstappen stars in May's edition of The Circuit, which premieres on CNNi Thursday at 0930 BST.

    Barcelona (CNN)For some it's the sight from the podium, the taste of champagne, the glory of victory.

    While those things are important for a natural-born competitor like Max Verstappen, the Dutch teenager's love for F1 racing cuts much deeper.
      "I grew up going to race rings and I really enjoyed it," says the son of former F1 racer Jos Verstappen and go-karting mum Sophie Kumpen.
      "The smell of fuel, driving on the limit on the edge of sliding, it just gives you a lot of adrenaline.
      "That's what I enjoy, always driving on the limit of what you can do," Verstappen added in an interview
      Verstappen became the youngest race winner in F1 when he took the checkered flag at last year's Spanish Grand Prix aged just 18 years and 228 days, while his phenomenal drive to secure third place at the Brazilian GP is already regarded as one of the sport's great performances.
      And the Red Bull driver has already claimed one podium position this year after finishing third in China.
      Yet the superiority of Ferrari and Mercedes has been obvious over the early part of the season.
      Spanish GP preview: A chat with Max Verstappen
      Spanish GP preview: A chat with Max Verstappen


        Spanish GP preview: A chat with Max Verstappen


      Spanish GP preview: A chat with Max Verstappen 03:08
      Verstappen admits it will be nigh on impossible to regularly compete with the likes of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the front of the grid given the vehicles at their disposal.
      But that doesn't mean he won't be pushing to "get the maximum" out of himself this year.
      He was forced to retire in Spain this past weekend but has two fifth place finishes to add to his podium appearance in China.

      Gaining experience

      Verstappen has gained a reputation as being an aggressive driver since he first appeared in F1 for Toro Rosso in 2015.
      Fellow drivers Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen spoke out about some of the tactics he employed during last year's Belgian Grand Prix.
      But Verstappen says there is little chance of him changing tact on the track. "Everybody can have his own opinion but this is just the way I am," he says.
      Lewis Hamilton triumphs in Spanish GP
      Lewis Hamilton triumphs in Spanish GP


        Lewis Hamilton triumphs in Spanish GP


      Lewis Hamilton triumphs in Spanish GP 02:30
      "That's how I raced my whole life (and) that's what brought me here. I don't think there is any reason to change that.
      "Of course, you learn from certain moments and you always get more and more experience so maybe in the future you will do some different things but in general the basics always stay the same."
      Verstappen even describes himself as calm and collected during races.
      "I'm pretty relaxed but maybe sometimes on the track it looks like I'm quite aggressive," he says. "As a person, I'm pretty relaxed in the car, I think."

      No more rookie seasons

      Confident and well spoken, it's easy to forget that, at the tender age of just 19, Verstappen has his entire F1 career in front of him.
      He made his debut in the sport before he was legally able to drive a road car in the Netherlands.
      But with two seasons now under his belt, he feels there is more responsibility on his shoulders.
      He describes his first two seasons as "a bit more like rookie seasons" where mistakes were forgiven.
      F1: The Ice Man's first car
      F1: The Ice Man's first car


        F1: The Ice Man's first car


      F1: The Ice Man's first car 01:00
      A quarter of the way through season three, however, Verstappen now believes he is seen as a more mature driver.
      "You can't really make any mistakes any more," he says. "Of course, mistakes can still happen when you're driving on the limit but not very stupid mistakes."
      He adds: "There's still a lot of improvement for sure, I'm still very young. I think, not just in speed but in general experience during a race weekend."

      Giving back

      Verstappen says he sees himself competing in F1 for between 15 and 17 years in total.
      But he doesn't feel commitment to his sport has led to him missing out on other things in life -- such as growing up away from the spotlight as a regular teenager.
      On the contrary, he hopes to provide a helping hand to more young driving enthusiasts in his home nation.
      "My dream is to build a go-kart track ... in [the Netherlands] to give something back because at the moment we don't really have go-kart tracks.
      "It helps also the younger kids if you have a go kart track in Holland with good facilities."
      While that may help Dutch youngsters looking to follow in this speedy teen's footsteps, they'll do well to catch him any time soon.