Congratulations To Verstappen But Feel For Hamilton
The most dramatic formula One
season in years ended, of course, in one of the most dramatic finishes possible
when Max Verstappen snatched the world championship away from Lewis Hamilton
with a pass on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi GP. Hamilton's Mercedes team to
the constructors' title for an unprecedented 8th year in row but their run of
double dominance was ended by a 24-year-old Dutch driver, his country's first
The Dutchman was slow off the start as the seven-time world champion flew off to a blinder and took the lead into the first corner. Hamilton was five laps away from passing Michael Schumacher in the record books with an eight championship Sunday until Nicholas Latifi crashed. F1 race director Michael Masi took his time figuring out how to conclude the race before controversially settling on final lap of racing to decide the title. F1 sent out the safety car for a clean-up and resumed the race with one lap remaining. Verstappen started the final lab just behind Hamilton chasing him through the first four turns. Verstappen made his pass in the fifth turn and Hamilton had one last shot. he pulled his Mercedes even with the Red Bull but couldn't clear Verstappen, who surged ahead to become the first Dutch world champion.
It was a fitting end to a season that saw the two contenders go wheel-to-wheel over 22 race spanning four continents and arrive in Abu Dhabi tied in the championship standings. It marked the first time the contenders for equal at the season finale since 1974.
Verstappen and Red Bull celebrated in a champagne soak, received hugs from his fellow competitors - including Hamilton and Hamilton's father - and made his way to the DJ stand at Yas Marina Circuit and jumped wildly up and down to the music. The mood was far different in the Mercedes camp, where Hamilton sat motionless in his car for several moments ad other drivers made their way to congratulate Verstappen. The defeat ended his reign of four consecutive titles and denied Hamilton a chance to pass Schumacher as best all-time in F1.