HomeSportsFormula 1F1 news LIVE: Latest reaction after Verstappen title confirmed

F1 news LIVE: Latest reaction after Verstappen title confirmed

Verstappen wants to race with Red Bull for ‘rest of his life’ after dramatic world title win

Follow all the latest F1 news and reaction to Max Verstappen’s dramatic and controversial world title win in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Verstappen went into the final race of the season tied on points with Lewis Hamilton, and it was the British Mercedes driver who seemed on course to win a record eighth world title as he streaked into the lead with only a few laps remaining. But the crash of back marker Nicholas Latifi changed the course of history, bringing out the safety car and allowing Verstappen not only to close the gap but to put on fresh tyres.

When the safety car exited the track it left Verstappen and Hamilton to fight out a one-lap shootout for the title, and the Red Bull driver pulled off a bold overtake early in the lap before holding on to win the race and the Formula 1 crown.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was furious, and his team put in protests against the result based on the controversial way the race director Michael Masi effectively forced the late drama rather than sticking to the letter of the law in safety car procedure. However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner branded the appeals “desperate” after they were thrown out by the FIA.

Follow all the latest reaction from a thrilling finale to the F1 season:


F1 news: Verstappen says Mercedes protests ‘sum up season’

In a season which has seen drama and hostility both on and off the track, Max Verstappen says Mercedes protest of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result and his F1 championship “sums up the season”.

Mercedes were left furious at how the race unfolded and launched two appeals after Lewis Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth world championship.

“I think it also sums up a little bit this season,” Verstappen said when told of the Mercedes protest, which was later dismissed by the stewards.

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 11:00


F1 news: Verstappen’s title win was ‘justice’, Alonso claims

Fernando Alonso has claimed Max Verstappen’s title win was “justice” and that the 24-year-old driver would have won his first F1 championship much earlier in the season had it not been for bad luck.

Verstappen finished a remarkable 18 of the 22 races of the season either first or second. Of the other four, two resulted in DNFs after collisions with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone and Monza, there was an 18th place finish in Baku after his tyres blew while leading the race, and he finished P9 in Hungary after being caught up in an incident with Valtteri Bottas.

While the final lap of the season was controversial, Alonso acknowledged that Verstappen was due his share of luck in his battle with Hamilton.

“That was pure luck, we have to be honest about that,” Alonso told Dutch TV station Ziggo Sport on the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On the other hand, he was unlucky so often this season, now it’s more balanced. So it’s a little bit of justice.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 10:45


F1 news: Hill accuses Red Bull of ‘playing rough’

Hill added that Verstappen was a deserved winner of his first Formula One title after a campaign which saw him wins 10 races and record 10 pole positions.

Hamilton had closed the gap by winning three of the four final races of the season but the 1996 champion said Verstappen had been the better driver over the course of the season.

“You can’t have them both win, unfortunately, I think Max has fought valiantly. I think the right man won – if there can be such a thing,” Hill said.

“I feel for Lewis, he’s fought with everything he’s had, and with Mercedes as well. But they’re up against a very formidable Red Bull team and driver.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 10:30


F1 news: Hill accuses Red Bull of ‘playing rough’

Former F1 world champion Damon Hill has claimed Red Bull and team boss Christian Horner were “playing rough” as they looked to put the pressure on race director Michael Masi in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Horner pleased Masi to give championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton “one more lap” following the safety car, with Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff later criticising the “unacceptable” way in which the race unfolded.

Five cars were allowed to overtake the safety car, putting Verstappen directly behind Hamilton on a fresh set of soft tyres, and Hill said Red Bull were smart in how they argued for the drivers to be allowed to race for the line.

“I think these are new rules,” Hill told Sky Sports. “I think it’s a new style of race directing, I think that Mercedes have struggled with the decisions that have been made.

“Red Bull played rough, but they’ve persuaded the race director that cars should be allowed to race, and it should be a robust kind of formula, and they’ve prevailed.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 10:16


F1 news: Controversial final lap decision left Ricciardo ‘speechless’

Amid the chaos of the final lap of the Formula One season, Daniel Ricciardo had the perfect view to watch Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton race for the line at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But the McLaren driver says he was left “speechless” after he was not told to pass the safety car, unlike five of the drivers ahead of him.

The controversial end to the race was subject to a Mercedes protest which was subsequently thrown out by stewards, confirming Verstappen as champion.

“I was confused because I got that message that they won’t overtake,” Ricciardo said as he revealed the mixed messages drivers were receiving during the closing stages of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“Through my head I thought, ‘That seems okay,’ like I guess, fair, because Lewis had such a lead and Max has newer tyres, in this way he has to cut through a few cars if they’re going to restart the race.

“Then I saw some cars overtake so I asked, ‘What do I do, do I pass?,’ and then I think Tom [Stallard] said, ‘No, you have to stay here.’

“So I’ve literally got front row seats for the last lap. And I’m also on a new soft, or a newer soft, so I was like, ‘Do I pass both of them?’ Nah, just kidding. I’m honestly a bit speechless, I don’t know what to make of that. I really don’t. I need to see how it all came about.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 10:00


F1 news: Hamilton omitted from Sports Personality of the Year award

Lewis Hamilton has missed out on the six-person shortlist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 36-year-old won Sports Personality for the second time last year after equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles.

Emma Raducanu, Raheem Sterling, Adam Peaty, Dame Sarah Storey, Tyson Fury and Tom Daley are up for this year’s award.

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 09:50


F1 news: Drivers react to ‘strange’ and ‘confusing’ final lap

F1 drivers have reacted with surprise that not all lapped cars were allowed to overtake the safety car during the final lap of a dramatic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

After Nicholas Latifi’s late crash triggered a safety car, five cars, including Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc, were allowed to pass – which put Max Verstappen directly behind Lewis Hamilton following his switch to a fresh set of softs.

Leclerc said: “First I was told I would not be able to unlap myself, at the end at the last moment we actually had the opportunity to unlap ourselves. So yeah, it was a bit of a strange one.”

“When the safety car was out I thought we were able to overtake quickly, because normally it is what happens,” Alonso said. “You see the green light of the safety car, and then you are unlapping yourself until they remove the car.

“But we didn’t have that green signal, and then two laps after the engineer told me that you will not be able to unlap yourself, and the positions would stay like this.

“One corner later the green light came on and I said, ‘But we have a green light?.’ And they said ‘Yeah, yeah, you can do it now, follow Norris.’ And I followed Norris. So it was a little bit confusing, probably.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 09:40


F1 news: Don’t let title finale detract from Verstappen’s merits as world champion

Max Verstappen is a worthy Formula One world champion despite the controversy surrounding his title win over Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Vithushan Ehantharajah writes.

“Six years after taking to the track as Formula One’s youngest driver, he has returned a season to remember. The statistics tell a story of consistency: 10 victories, eight second-place finishes, 10 pole positions and 395.5 points. The eyes tell one far more alluring: cavalier driving, veering over reckless on plenty of occasions in what felt a season-long game of chicken with the 36-year-old Hamilton.

“Does age play a part? Hard to say with any certainty. How much of the bursts into the smallest of spaces, those dips through the inside or blocking out of a seven-time champion breathing down his neck can be attributed to youth? All who step into the cockpit do so armed with bravery. Only the best do so with the kind of nous to engage a larrikin spirit into the final lap of an entire season when a title is on the line.

“Perhaps that’s the crux of Verstappen’s merits as a world champion.”

Read the full piece, here:

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 09:30


F1 news: Controversial end to race made ‘for TV’, Norris suggests

The controversial final-lap shootout between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for the Formula One world title was “made for TV”, Lando Norris has suggested.

Mercedes were left furious after five cars were allowed to unlap themselves under the late safety car, leaving Verstappen directly behind Hamilton having already pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres.

The Red Bull driver then executed the crucial move down the inside of Hamilton to win his first world championship, but Mercedes logged a protest of the result after not all the cars on the track were given the chance to pass the safety car.

“I didn’t actually know it was only like the first three or four [actually five] up to Max,” Norris when reacting to the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“So it was obviously made to be a fight, it was for the TV of course, it was for the result. Whether or not it was fair is not up to to me to decide.

“Sometimes they let you go, sometimes they don’t. It’s just 50/50 half the time. But they said that they’re not gonna let us pass.

“So I’m guessing that was a message to say, they were just not going to let us pass at all. But then to suddenly do it just for the final lap, and for a one lap shootout, then I’m a bit surprised.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 09:20


F1 news: Verstappen opens up on career after achieving ‘final’ goal

Max Verstappen admitted he has “achieved everything” in Formula One after winning his first world championship.

The Red Bull driver has previously said that winning the world title is his “final goal” in the sport and admitted it would not “matter” if he didn’t add another championship in his career.

After beating Lewis Hamilton at a thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen said: I will continue driving but of course, in terms of achievements I have achieved everything in Formula One now.

“So, everything that comes next is just a bonus.”

Jamie Braidwood13 December 2021 09:10

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