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  5. Abu Dhabi GP 2021: Verstappen claims maiden F1 World Championship title; overtakes Hamilton at last lap

Abu Dhabi GP 2021: Verstappen claims maiden F1 World Championship title; overtakes Hamilton at last lap

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen became Formula One World Champion for the first time defeating Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling season finale race at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

AP Reported by: AP
New Delhi Updated on: December 12, 2021 23:01 IST
 Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull
Image Source : LARS BARON/GETTY IMAGES

 Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates with his team at parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on December 12, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Highlights

  • Max Verstappen ripped a record eighth title away from Lewis Hamilton with a pass on the final lap
  • Hamilton was cruising to win in a race he controlled until Latifi crashed with five laps remaining
  • The resulting safety car, allowed Verstappen to catch up when race resumed with a lap to go

Max Verstappen ripped a record eighth title away from Lewis Hamilton with a pass on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi GP to close one of the most thrilling Formula One seasons in years as the first Dutch world champion.

Hamilton was cruising past Michael Schumacher's record of seven titles Sunday in a race he controlled until Nicholas Latifi crashed with five laps remaining. F1 sent out the safety car for a cleanup and resumed the race with one lap remaining.

Hamilton and Verstappen started side-by-side for one final trip around Yas Marina Circuit and the British driver surged to the lead. Verstappen stalked him through the first four turns then made his pass in turn five and pulled away in his Red Bull.

It was a fitting end to a season that saw the two contenders go wheel-to-wheel over 22 races spanning four continents and arrive in Abu Dhabi tied in the championship standings. It marked the first time the contenders were equal at the season finale since 1974.

But Hamilton had the race well under control until the Latifi crash.

“Oh my God!” Verstappen screamed over his radio.

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

“Let's do this for another 10 or 15 years!” Verstappen replied.

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

Multiple rival drivers headed to the grid to congratulate Verstappen as Hamilton sat motionless inside his Mercedes. The defeat ended his reign of four consecutive titles and denied Hamilton a chance to pass Schumacher as best all-time in F1.

“Congratulations to Max and to his team, I think he did an amazing job this year,” Hamilton said to close what had become a bitter rivalry this season between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Hamilton received a long hug in the garage from his father, who then went to the garage and hugged both Verstappen and Verstappen's father. Jos Verstappen was himself a former F1 driver and raised his 24-year-old son to become a world champion.

Mission accomplished.

Result

1. (1) Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 58 laps, (1:30:17.345) 26 points.

2. (2) Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 58, +2.256 seconds, 18.

3. (5) Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 58, +5.173, 15.

4. (8) Yuki Tsunoda, Japan, Alphatauri, 58, +5.692, 12.

5. (12) Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 58, +6.531, 10.

6. (6) Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 58, +7.463, 8.

7. (3) Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, 58, +59.200, 6.

8. (11) Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, 58, +1:01.708, 4.

9. (9) Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 58, +1:04.026, 2.

10. (7) Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 58, +1:06.057, 1.

11. (15) Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Aston Martin, 58, +1:07.527.

12. (10) Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, McLaren, 57, +1 lap.

13. (13) Lance Stroll, Canada, Aston Martin, 57, +1 lap.

14. (19) Mick Schumacher, Germany, Haas F1 Team, 57, +1 lap.

15. (4) Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, did not finish, 55.

16. (16) Nicholas Latifi, Canada, Williams, did not finish, 50.

17. (14) Antonio Giovinazzi, Italy, Alfa Romeo Racing, did not finish, 33.

18. (17) George Russell, Great Britain, Williams, did not finish, 26.

19. (18) Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, did not finish, 25.

___

Driver Standings
1. Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 369.5 points.

2. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 369.5.

3. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 218.

4. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, 190.

5. Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 158.

6. Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, 154.

7. Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 149.5.

8. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, McLaren, 115.

9. Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 100.

10. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, 77.

11. Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 72.

12. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Aston Martin, 43.

13. Lance Stroll, Canada, Aston Martin, 34.

14. Yuki Tsunoda, Japan, Alphatauri, 20.

15. George Russell, Great Britain, Williams, 16.

16. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, 10.

17. Nicholas Latifi, Canada, Williams, 7.

18. Antonio Giovinazzi, Italy, Alfa Romeo Racing, 3.

Manufacturers Standings
1. Mercedes, 587.5.

2. Red Bull Racing, 559.5.

3. Ferrari, 307.5.

4. McLaren, 269.

5. Alpine, 149.

6. Alphatauri, 120.

7. Aston Martin, 77.

8. Williams, 23.

9. Alfa Romeo Racing, 13.

10. Haas F1 Team, 0.