Verstappen wins first F1 title with Hamilton’s final lap pass

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands drives the Honda (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B on track during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 20, 2021 in Le Castellet, France.

Bryn Lennon | Formula 1 | beautiful pictures

Of course, the most dramatic Formula 1 season in years ended in one of the most dramatic endings possible as Max Verstappen snatched the world championship from Lewis Hamilton with a final lap. by GP Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton was five laps away from overtaking Michael Schumacher in the record books with an eighth championship on Sunday until a collision gave Verstappen and Red Bull one last chance.

Whatever Hamilton said over his radio when Nicholas Latifi rammed in to get out of the safety car was only played out as a long beep to cover up the obscenity.

F1 race director Michael Masi spent time figuring out how to finish the race before settling the controversy on one final lap to decide the title. Verstappen started the final round just behind Hamilton, chasing him through the first four turns.

Verstappen made his pass on the fifth inning and Hamilton had a final hit. He pulled his Mercedes even with Red Bull but couldn’t get past Verstappen, who took the lead to become the first Dutch world champion.

Verstappen and Red Bull celebrated in champagne, received hugs from competitors – including Hamilton and Hamilton’s dad – and made their way to the DJ stands at the Yas Marina Circuit and danced to the beat. music.

“I mean crazy, my goal as a kid was to be a Formula 1 driver and win, get on the podium,” Verstappen said. “When they play the national anthem, you want it to be yours and when you stand here and they tell you you’re the world champion, that’s something unbelievable and special.”

It was a fitting end to a season that saw two title contenders across 22 races spanning four continents and to Abu Dhabi, tied for the championship standings. It marked the first time that the contenders were equal at the season finale since 1974.

“Congratulations to Max and his team, I think he’s done an incredible job this year,” Hamilton said.

This fierce confrontation between Mercedes and Red Bull has received a well-deserved ending – an ending that leaves the victor speechless.

“Oh my God!” Verstappen shouted over his radio as he crossed the finish line.

“You are the world champion! The world champion!” Red Bull boss Christian Horner shouted.

“Let’s do this in 10 or 15 years!” Verstappen replied.

Red Bull won its first F1 title since 2013; Mercedes has won every championship since.

The mood was far different in the Mercedes camp, where Hamilton sat motionless in his car for a few moments as other drivers came to congratulate Verstappen. The defeat ended his reign with four consecutive titles and did not give Hamilton a chance to overtake Schumacher as the all-time great driver in F1.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was skeptical on the radio, demanding “the last lap must be restored.”

“Toto, it’s called a motor race,” Masi replied curtly. “We want to race cars.”

Hamilton received a long hug from his father, who later went to Red Bull’s garage and hugged both Verstappen and Verstappen’s father. Jos Verstappen was a former F1 driver and raised his 24-year-old son to become a world champion.

Mission accomplished and Red Bull celebrated by playing “We are the Champions” in its garage.


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