Max Verstappen's maiden Formula One World title Red Bull's biggest achievement so far: Christian Horner

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Dec 13, 2021, 01:49 PM IST
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Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the final race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to emerge as the deserving winner of the Formula One World Championship crown.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen rallied past seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling finish to the Formula One season on Sunday. Hamilton dominated the proceedings throughout the race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before Verstappen overtook him in the final lap following late drama to deny the British great his eighth F1 World title.

It was a dramatic end to what was one of the best Formula One seasons in the history of the sport. Hamilton was edging close to lifting his eighth title and had everything in control. However, Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams just four laps before the final one which triggered the appearance of the safety car.

While Verstappen opted for new tyres, Hamilton did not. With fresh wheels, the Dutch managed to get the better of Hamilton in the final lap to lay his hands on his first Formula One title. It was nothing less than an extraordinary finish to the race as millions around the world stayed glued to their TV screens to witness the drama unfold at the Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi.

Elated after Verstappen's world championship triumph, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner labelled it the team's biggest achievement so far. Horner, who oversaw Red Bull's dominance during the 2010-2013 seasons when Sebastian Vettel helped the team win four drivers' and constructors' titles, said Verstappen's tops them all for the sheer quality of competition.

"All credit to Lewis, he’s been a phenomenal opponent all year and he’s a great world champion and that’s what makes it even more valid to win this," said Horner after Verstappen's win.

"It’s right up there with the first one," he added.

Vettel won Red Bull's first title in 2010 at the same Yas Marana circuit in Abu Dhabi before winning three more titles in the next three years. Hamilton has since taken over and has led Marcedes to back-to-back seven world championships from 2014 to 2020. His streak was finally broken by Verstappen on Sunday with a last-lap overtake in controversial circumstances.

"Mercedes are such a quality team and they’ve got stronger and stronger over the years. And that’s what’s made this so intense. Because of the quality of the opposition we’ve had, that’s what makes this one so special," said Horner, who had all but lost his hope ahead of the final lap before Verstappen made a miraculous recovery and went on to clinch the title.

"This is probably the biggest championship that we’ve ever won," he added.