Verstappen wins first F1 title in last lap drama
World Championship is decided on the last lap of the race
Published on 31 Dec 2021
Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the Formula One championship, denying Lewis Hamilton a record eighth, with a last-lap overtake to win a season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday amid controversy and high drama.
Hamilton's Mercedes team took the constructors' title for an unprecedented eighth year in a row but their run of double dominance was ended by the 24-year-old Dutch driver, his country's first champion.
Two post-race protests, which might have overturned
the outcome, were dismissed but Mercedes refused to drop the matter and said
they had filed notice of intention to appeal.
"It's insane," said Verstappen of a
race that started with fans on the edge of their seats and ended in uproar,
with lawyers looming.
Verstappen's hopes had soared when he qualified
on pole position, sunk when he lost the lead at the start and rose again as the
safety car came out and race director Michael Masi decisively pushed the
boundaries late in the race.
"This is unbelievable guys! Can we do this
for another 10-15 years together?" he had said over the radio after the
most emotional lap of his life.
"We needed a bit of luck and we got
it," said team boss Christian Horner, who had said earlier in the race
that it would take a miracle to win and hailed the victory as Red Bull's