AFP
Wire Service
1 minute read
12 Dec 2021
5:04 pm

Max Verstappen edges Lewis Hamilton to win F1 world title

AFP

Fresh tyres paid off for the 24-year-old Verstappen, who surged through to clinch a narrow victory.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands is the new F1 world champion. Picture: Getty Images

Max Verstappen became the first Dutchman ever to win the Formula One world championship title when he won a dramatic season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Red Bull driver notched up a 10th victory of the season when he took advantage of a second safety car to overtake seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton on the final lap after Nicholas Latifi crashed.

Verstappen and Hamilton, who went into the race level on points, went wheel to wheel to the chequered flag with the Dutchman edging the race.

Hamilton, who had won the three previous races, made the perfect start when he overtook Verstappen before the first corner.

The two then tangled on the first lap with Verstappen overtaking and forcing Hamilton wide off the track but the Mercedes driver cut across and rejoined the race in the lead. 

He slowed to give back time but the stewards decided not to investigate the incident.

Hamilton built up a lead which was then threatened when Red Bull took advantage of a virtual safety car on lap 36 of 58 to switch to a new set of hard tyres.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen in the early stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Picture: Getty Images

Hamilton stayed out and saw the Dutchman erode his lead with every lap. Another safety car on lap 54 enabled Verstappen to pit again and switch to soft tyres.

When the safety car came off, just one dramatic lap remained and the two began it neck and neck. 

But the fresh tyres paid off for the 24-year-old Verstappen who surged through to win the race and the title to roars from the Yas Marina stands.