Max Verstappen took the Formula 1 world title on the last round of the 2021 season. However, it seemed far from over after the race because Mercedes launched two protests. The first for overtaking Verstappen on Lewis Hamilton during the safety car and the second for the fact that not all the lapped cars had passed the safety car yet when the field was released. After hours of tension, the FIA brushed off both protests and it became official: Formula 1 has a new world champion.
Sunday became long, very long. But all’s well that ends well, although it was not without tension. Not even with the always calm Red Bull driver. “It was not good for my heart,” he tells NOS. ‘From the morning I was nervous, it was of course so close together. All that emotion in the last round, the madhouse, and then that decision that has to be made. That was not nice. But in the end it’s an incredible day,” said the Dutchman.
No one can deny that luck was needed for this world title. The world champion himself also knows that, but he continued to believe. “I was like: I’m not giving up, go full throttle until the last lap and then we’ll see where we end up. You have to be a bit lucky, we have had that, but then you also have to take the chance. We finally did.’ After the race, Verstappen shared a moment alone with his father. ‘That was very emotional, the two of us sitting there’, says son Max.
Horner: ‘We didn’t want the battle to be decided by race management’
Team boss Christian Horner also came to the microphone of the Dutch broadcaster. He is also, as expected, relieved by the FIA’s decision. “We didn’t want the battle to be decided by race officials. We felt Max had won it on track. We had done a good strategy during the safety car situation. The last lap was super intense, but that was all year round,” said the Briton, who was disappointed that Mercedes was protesting at all. “But that’s their choice.”