Verstappen on crazy F1 World Championship drama and the fact that he’s had no contact with Hamilton since – As the new Formula 1 season inexorably approaches, the memories of the previous year are still vivid in many people’s minds.
Max Verstappen, for example, can still remember the dramatic battle against Lewis Hamilton in the cockpit. There are moments that a Formula 1 driver never forgets. For world champion Max Verstappen, the final lap at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix undoubtedly belongs in this bracket.
“What was going on in my head? I said to myself: I have to overtake him. There is only this option. I’m not going to finish second,” the Dutchman recalled in an interview with the Guardian about the fateful final kilometres that made him the Formula One world champion.
Already at the re-start to the last lap he went all out, Verstappen described:
“Everything was working fine until I crossed the line and got a cramp in my leg. That’s about the most painful thing that can happen to you because you have to go full throttle for a long time [in Abu Dhabi].”
His leg hurt more and more as the lap went on, the Red Bull driver explained, “Luckily turn five came and I made my move. I wasn’t on the gas for about three seconds then.”
When Lewis Hamilton then counter-attacked on the straight, his foot was shaking. This trembling accompanied him all the way to the finish line:
“If you look at the data, you will see that my throttle input was not really clean,” says the Dutchman.
In the end he was “completely done”, Verstappen added:
“One more lap and I wouldn’t have been able to finish the race like that. The stress level was just so high that my body reacted to it. But you just can’t give up there.”
Meanwhile, the Dutchman couldn’t remember Lewis Hamilton’s words after the race too well.
“I think he said ‘congratulations’, but I don’t remember the exact words. But of course it was nice of him to come to me right after the race.”
Verstappen says he hasn’t had any contact with the British driver since the podium. “But that’s also quite normal. We live our own lives and see each other often enough as it is.”
Verstappen says he is not worried that the ongoing FIA investigation may conclude that race control broke the rules and that he will be retroactively stripped of his world championship title. “There is nothing you can do about it,” the Dutchman said.
The controversy also does not change the fact that he deserved the title, the Red Bull driver added:
“I had a very good season and deserved it. People forget that I had a lot of bad luck. They only remember the last race, but if you look at the whole season, the championship should have been decided much earlier.”
Verstappen’s bad luck included Silverstone, when he was literally shot down by Hamilton in a high-speed corner.
“That was the most painful thing ever. That already hurt points-wise, but it was also really painful. My neck, my back, my shoulders. I can take a lot, but it’s not good for your body and your head to have an impact like that.”