Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021 results: Max Verstappen overtakes Lewis Hamilton on controversial final lap, wins F1 championship

Max Verstappen is your 2021 Formula 1 world champion.

It wasn’t without drama, excitement, controversy and strategy: It finally made it to the final lap after a controversial reboot following a wreck at the final stages of the race.

Last race of the season goes to the final lap: After a safety car held the race to a final lap, Verstappen and the newer tire removed the hard tyres from Mercedes and Hamilton, taking the lead and win the championship.

Sports news Followed highlights, updates and more from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are below.

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Live Formula 1 updates, highlights from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

9:34 am END: The 2021 world championship belongs to Max Verstappen. Totally insane ending.

9:32 am: The safety car is over, and the covered cars are allowed to pass – one lap remains. The championship hangs in the balance.

9:27 am: The rounds of intense, thrilling, tense matches will end here. One or two laps to finish the championship.

9:22 am: SAFETY VEHICLES! Nicholas Latifi hit the wall, and Verstappen hit the soft tire net.

9:18 am: Christian Horner sounds like he’s about to give up racing, counting on a miracle from the racing gods to win this one. Seven more laps to go, and Verstappen is just 11 seconds behind Hamilton.

9:08 am: There are 15 laps to go, and the Lewis-Verstappen gap is under 14 seconds and will slowly close.

9:02 am: Verstappen is flying on new tyres. (Tire? Tire.) Set the fastest lap. We’ll see if Hamilton holds up.

8:57 am: Verstappen tested the VSC, and he chose a new set of hard tires. We’ll see if it works (probably not).

8:55 am: Looks like Alfa Romeo’s days are officially over: Antonio Giovinazzi’s car stalls on the side of the road and we see a virtual safety car.

8:50 am: Round 32 and Hamilton said he wasn’t sure the tires would last the race, and then went on to set up fastest lap after fastest lap. Have liver. (Or maybe just bait.)

8:48 am: George Russell Williams’ career also ended prematurely when he reported a brake problem and has now been dropped from the race. The remaining 17 drivers.

8:47 am: Verstappen and Red Bull are thinking about a second stop as the gap widens to 4.2 seconds. Call for bravery, but Red Bull must bet if they want any hit to win this match.

8:43 am: Kimi Raikkonen’s career ended prematurely: A brake problem forced Finn to join the DNF. Unfortunately.

8:34 am: Perez just won his 2021 Red Bull check: He held onto Hamilton and took him six seconds on a lap, allowing Verstappen to get right back into this race. Hamilton still had a clear pace, just about two seconds ahead of Verstappen.

8:30 a.m.: Verstappen is back in third and Hamilton remains in second behind Perez. Verstappen has a 12-second gap with Hamilton.

8:26 am: Verstappen’s only hope here is that Perez can try and slow Hamilton for Verstappen to get. The race could end soon.

8:23 am: Crazy Verstappen: He started on hard tires with 34 laps to go. Perez is now in second, and Verstappen comes out of the hole and is fourth. Hamilton will be pitted on the next lap.

8:21 am: Verstappen looks like he might be coming in for a tire change soon, as the lap is on lap 13.

8:18 am: Looks like Verstappen’s tires are completely shot now. He is now four seconds behind Hamilton to take the lead and stretch.

8:15 am: Hamilton sets the fastest laps at the top. There is still some debate about the Round 1 breakdown between Verstappen and Hamilton: Verstappen stayed on the track, while Hamilton ran wide. It is difficult to say who is right and who is wrong, but there is no need to investigate. Very 50/50 there.

8:10 am: There was absolutely no advantage for Red Bull having suffered a soft tire early, with Hamilton setting up the fastest finish and easily opening the scoring ahead of second-placed Verstappen.

8:06 am: Bottas dropped to eighth after starting in sixth, with Verstappen and Perez Nos.2 and 3. Verstappen fell behind, with Hamilton leading 1 1/2 seconds early.

8:04 am: Verstappen and Hamilton touched, Hamilton headed but Verstappen had to return the blow. Early drama.

8:03 am: The lights go out and we go. Hamilton started great and he started pretty easily against Verstappen, and he took the lead.

8:00 am: The forming round is underway. Lights soon turn off.

7:55 am: Good morning, F1 fans. The last time in 2021, we’re about to turn off the lights. Nikita Mazepin will not be racing at the Abu Dhabi GP after reporting COVID-19 symptoms, and Haas will only drive one car for the race.

What time does the F1 race start today?

The 8am ET start time for Sunday’s race means the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will begin at 5pm local time. The lights out will probably happen as soon as 8am. ET. ESPN’s prerace program usually airs an hour before the race starts.

How to watch Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021

  • Channel: ESPN2
  • Direct: fuboTV , ESPN+

The ESPN network team will broadcast all of the 2021 F1 races in the US using a Sky Sports feed, with select races airing on ABC at the end of the season.

ESPN Deportes serves as the exclusive Spanish-speaking home for all 2021 F1 races in the US

Lewis Hamilton score vs. Max Verstappen

Not only are the two equal in points heading into the final race of the 2021 season, but their numbers leading up to this point are eerily similar.

In the rare event that both DNF drivers this Sunday, the championship will go to Verstappen, as he owns another victory over Hamilton in 2021.

Here’s how their head-to-head numbers break down:

Statistical Hamilton Verstappen
The point 369.5 369.5
Race to win 8 9
Pole position 5 ten
podium 16 17
Top 10 20 18
Fastest lap 6 5

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results

Here is the complete F1 starting lineup for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

position Driver (Team)
first. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3. Lando Norris (McLaren)
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
6. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
ten. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
11. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
twelfth. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
14. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
15. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
16. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
17. George Russell (Williams)
18. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
19. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
20 Nikita Mazepin (Haas)

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