Max Verstappen took the 2021 Formula One title on Sunday after incredible drama in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull driver needed a miracle and that came after a late safety car due to Nicholas Latifi's crash. Mercedes were furious about the safety car procedure, but their protest were dismissed. Verstappen is the first Dutch Formula One champion.
It was hard to believe for the 24 year old Dutchman: "It feels incredible to be World Champion and I couldn't have asked for a more insane last race of the year. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, from not really having a chance of winning until the last lap, everything came together, and we had to go for it. I kept saying to myself, I am just going to give it my all and I have until the end and that is what we did. Of course, with that safety car restart in the last lap we had the fresher tyres but you still need to do the move and luckily it worked out. I want to say a big thank to Checo, because of his performance today, I won the Championship, he was driving his heart out for this team. Today showed exactly what great teamwork is, he's an amazing teammate. Mercedes won the Constructors and we won the Drivers Championship, so it really shows that throughout the whole year we pushed each other to the very end. Lewis is an amazing driver, there is no discussion about it. Of course, we had our moments throughout the season but I think you know that after everything we had an amazing fight this season and I think both teams gave it their all."
Also teamboss Christian Horner was looking for words: "I said it was going to need something from the racing Gods in the last ten laps and thank goodness for that safety car. It has been a great competition this season and for Max to win the World Championship, it is not just about the race here, it is about the whole year and how incredible and consistent he has been as a driver. All credit to Lewis too, he has been a phenomenal opponent all year and a great World Champion, he has been formidable and that is what makes it even more of a monumental achievement to win this. This Championship came down to the last lap and it was a great strategy call by the Team to make that pit stop onto the set of softs and then it was down to Max to make it happen, which he did in typical Max style. I was screaming from turn five all the way down that back straight. He got the job done. I am just so proud of Max and the team for what we've been through this year and what we have achieved against some fierce and great opponents. Checo was the perfect teammate today, what he did keeping Lewis behind, on totally worn tyres, was just super driving. Without him today Max probably wouldn't be World Champion, the whole Team executed their strategy, flawlessly. On balance after 22 races we have won this World Championship on the facts. I would also like to thank Honda for their teamwork and support over the last few years. We will continue our partnership in a different way, but we look forward to continuing the success."