F1: Max Verstappen Beats Lewis Hamilton to Win Abu Dhabi GP 2021, Clinches Maiden F1 World Championship Title on Last Lap of Season
Red Bull's Verstappen defeated Mercedes' Hamilton to win his maiden F1 World Championship title in the Abu Dhabi GP at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.
Abu Dhabi: Miracle at Marina! Red Bull’s Max Verstappen outpaced and outfoxed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in a dramatic and controversial final-lap shootout of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to win his maiden F1 World Championship title at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday. It was a tough defeat to swallow for seven-time champion Hamilton who dominated the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP from the first lap before the safety car came out after Nicholas Latifi crashed out with six laps to go. The crash proved to be a game-changer for Red Bull and Verstappen as they took their chance to win in extraordinary fashion at the iconic Yas Marina, overtaking Hamilton in the final lap.
The 2021 edition was easily one of the most compelling years in the history of F1 as it went to the wire as Verstappen and Hamilton arrived at Abu Dhabi GP level on 369.5 points. Verstappen earned a dominant pole in qualifying on Saturday, before clinching the world title with a victory in the race on Sunday. At the end of the enthralling race, Verstappen screamed with delight and Red Bull celebrated. Hamilton took time and sat quietly in his Mercedes for several minutes, disbelieving at the way events had turned against him in the dying minutes.
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MAX VERSTAPPEN. WORLD CHAMPION!!!
A stunning season by an extraordinary talent#HistoryMade #F1 @Max33Verstappen pic.twitter.com/FxT9W69xJe
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021
“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.
Talking about the Abu Dhabi GP, the defending champion Hamilton had made the perfect start as he beat Verstappen off the line and immediately grabbed the lead into the first corner. In the first lap, the pair almost collided at turn seven, with Hamilton running wide to stay in front as Verstappen pushed to regain the lead.
The race stewards refused to take any further action over the incident, a decision that left Verstappen and Red Bull furious. The 24-year-old Dutchman struggled to keep pace on soft tyres and pitted at the end of lap 13, switching to hard tyres and forcing Hamilton to stop on the next lap.
A dream come true for @Max33Verstappen as he crosses the line in Abu Dhabi 👀
And becomes F1 World Champion for the first time! 👑 🏆#AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 #F1 pic.twitter.com/DIF51TL6Sk
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021
Meanwhile, Verstappen’s teammate – Sergio Perez also played his part in stopping Hamilton from winning the Abu Dhabi GP. Perez found himself in the race lead and worked hard to stop Hamilton from retaking it allowing Verstappen to close the gap again with 20 laps gone. Hamilton quickly built a comfortable lead but the introduction of a virtual safety car on lap 38 allowed his rival to pit quickly again and briefly raise hopes of a fightback.
However, what ensued in the final few laps at the Yas Marina Circuit made the season even more memorable as Latifi’s crash gave a dramatic turn to the race. Verstappen returned from the dead to clinch his maiden F1 World Championship trophy.
A shell-shocked Hamilton came home second, with Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – in third after Pérez retired late in the race.
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