Abu Dhabi GP: Max Verstappen amazed by ‘incredible’ finish to Lewis Hamilton duel after clinching first F1 title

Verstappen becomes only the second ever Red Bull champion after luck fell in his way with the last Safety Car and overtaking on the last lap in the dramatic F1 final; “When you stay here and they tell you that you are the world champion, it’s something incredible”

Last updated: 21/12/21 22:46

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watch Sky F1’s tribute to Max Verstappen after the Dutchman becomes world champion for the first time

Watch Sky F1’s tribute to Max Verstappen after the Dutchman becomes world champion for the first time

Max Verstappen reflected on the “incredible” way in which he won his first F1 title as the Dutchman finally realized his dream of becoming world champion after an extraordinary Abu Dhabi GP.

In the most thrilling but controversial of the climaxes of an epic title duel, the battle of Verstappen and Hamilton effectively boiled down to a one-lap shootout at the 1,297th and final lap of the season after a belated safety car wiped out. the comfortable advantage in the race of the Mercedes driver.

With the advantage of new tires and a free run at Hamilton after the two lapped cars were told to pass the Safety Car in a move that angered Mercedes and led to a post-race protest and continues with a later intention to appeal, Verstappen took his first chance to overtake the British rival with a bold move inside at turn five.

Mercedes has until Thursday to formalize any official appeal to the FIA ​​International Court of Appeal.

Verstappen passes Lewis Hamilton on the final lap in Abu Dhabi to win the F1 2021 championship!

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Verstappen passes Lewis Hamilton on the final lap in Abu Dhabi to win the F1 2021 championship!

Verstappen passes Lewis Hamilton on the final lap in Abu Dhabi to win the F1 2021 championship!

Verstappen is the first Dutch driver to win the title in the sport’s 72 seasons and only the second Red Bull champion after Sebastian Vettel, who won his last of four titles eight years ago.

“A crazy end to the season, for sure,” Verstappen said Sky Sport F1.

“We clearly lacked a bit of pace, so that was a bit of a problem, but we never gave up. We just tried to keep the gap close and then everything developed on the last lap.”

He added in the press conference: “I didn’t expect it and then you have this opportunity on the last lap. Yes, crazy, and an incredible feeling for everyone in the team.”

Verstappen reacts to news that F1 stewards have rejected both protests from Mercedes to confirm him as world champion for the first time.  Warning: These images contain flash photographs

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Verstappen reacts to news that F1 stewards have rejected both protests from Mercedes to confirm him as world champion for the first time. Warning: These images contain flash photographs

Verstappen reacts to news that F1 stewards have rejected both protests from Mercedes to confirm him as world champion for the first time. Warning: These images contain flash photographs

Verstappen’s first F1 title in its seventh season completes his transformation from teenage protege to world champion, the 34th in the sport’s history.

After just one season of motor racing, Verstappen was hired by Red Bull in 2015 to race for their junior team in F1 at the age of 17, and a year later was promoted to the senior team, winning on his debut in Spain. .

The son of former Benetton and Arrows driver Jos, who took two podiums in 106 starts between 1994 and 2003, Verstappen told Sky F1’s Jenson Button: “My goal when I was little was obviously to become a racing driver. Formula 1.

“You hope for victories, you hope to be on the podium. When they play the national anthem, you hope that one day they will play yours and when you stand here and they tell you that you are the world champion, it is something incredible.

“Especially with my father too, the special moment we had here too. You remember all the things; all the years you spent traveling together for that goal. Then you are here together and it all comes together in the last one. round .”

Verstappen also paid tribute to his Red Bull team and the executives who promoted him five years ago.

“I think they know I love them and I hope we can do it for 10-15 years together,” said Verstappen, whose current contract with Red Bull expires at the end of 2023.

“There is no reason to change, ever. I want to be with them for the rest of my life, I hope they let me.

“Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko] trusting me to be in this team in 2016. Our goal obviously was to win this championship and now we have. “

Verstappen’s words of praise for Hamilton

The Dutchman’s first crown certainly carries significant weight as he overtook the hugely successful combination of Hamilton and Mercedes to win it.

By making Hamilton wait at least another year for a record eighth driver crown, Verstappen ends the Briton’s four-year reign as world champion. Their rivalry for the title was intense, unpredictable and included three particularly controversial collisions (Silverstone, Monza and Jeddah), but Verstappen spoke words of praise for the “fantastic” Briton, the sport’s most successful driver, after the race. .

Karun Chandhok was at the SkyPad to analyze how Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi GP 2021 ahead of Hamilton

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Karun Chandhok was at the SkyPad to analyze how Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi GP 2021 ahead of Hamilton

Karun Chandhok was at the SkyPad to analyze how Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi GP 2021 ahead of Hamilton

“It was an incredible battle,” said Verstappen, who had made it to the final points level with Hamilton after leading 21 points until last month.

“Lewis is an extraordinary driver, he has shown it every single year. Obviously we have had our moments throughout the season, but I think that racing is also and above all people are going to the limit to try to win this championship. But overall we have a lot of mutual respect and we hope to be able to do it for many more years “.

.

Leave a Comment