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Max Verstappen wins first F1 world championship after dramatic end of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


This season has been heralded as one of the greatest in the sport’s history and the title race has reached one of the craziest final rounds possible.

Hamilton won all but his record-breaking eighth world championship until Williams Racing driver Nicholas Latifi crashed into the fence with four laps remaining, resulting in the safety car being disqualified.

It meant the race restarted on the final lap, with Verstappen allowed to start almost alongside Hamilton, even though Brit had established a good lead.

The Dutchman, with a new set of tires, sped past his opponent and won one of the most dramatic F1 races ever.

“It’s crazy. I don’t know what to say. I’m so excited for the team and for all these people. I enjoyed working with them so much,” Verstappen, 24, emotional and slightly stunned, said later. race.

“Finally, today, I got a little bit of luck. My team knows I love them and I want to do this with them for the next 10 or 15 years!”

Victory meant Verstappen prevented Hamilton from surpassing the record he still shares with racing legend Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes confirmed it had filed two protests related to the finish of the race, but both were denied by officials later on Sunday.

The team then intended to appeal the decision regarding the restart of the race for the final lap.

Verstappen celebrates with Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner.

A race like no other

Two worthy contenders reached the Yas Marina Circuit level on points, setting the perfect end to a title race that lasted until the very end.

The Dutch have an early advantage thanks to qualified in pole position After a magical qualifier on Saturday, a drive that will be remembered for a long time.

But it was Hamilton who started the race better from second, edging past Verstappen before taking the first corner and dominating much of the Grand Prix at Mercedes pace.

There has been controversy, as has happened throughout the season, with Red Bull adamant that Hamilton should have ceded first place to Verstappen after the Mercedes man left the track following contact with an opponent. his.

However, management decided not to investigate the incident and allowed Hamilton to proceed first.

Red Bull then used its Plan B, with Verstappen teammate Sergio Pérez expertly holding off Hamilton after the Mercedes driver started from the pit lane in second.

The Englishman finally finds a way past Red Bull but it won’t be until he has Verstappen back.

But Hamilton seems to have done enough, building a second double-digit lead, and heading to victory over the final lap mess.

With the win, Verstappen finished the season with 395.5 points, while Hamilton was second with 387.5 points.

Verstappen was congratulated by Lewis Hamilton after the race.

Angry Mercedes

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was furious after the managers allowed the race to end with such drama, but Hamilton failed again.

“First of all, congratulations to Max and his team. I think we’ve done an incredible job this year. The team, everyone at the factory, all the men and women we all know. I have, worked hard all year in a tough season,” he said after the race.

“I’m so proud of them and so grateful to have been a part of the journey with them. We gave everything in the final part of this season and never gave up, that’s what most important.

“Of course, I’ve been feeling great sitting in the car for the past few months, especially at the end. I hope everyone is staying safe during the pandemic and having a Merry Christmas during this time and we all have a good time. We’ll see each other next year.”

Meanwhile, amid the controversy, Mercedes has claimed its eighth consecutive constructors’ championship but that should be little consolation for those involved.

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