Max Verstappen says his luck finally turned at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, giving him the chance to clinch the world championship.Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race to win the race and secure his first title. “It’s unbelievable,” said F1’s first new world champion in five years.
Verstappen lost the lead at the start of the race, and was left fuming after Hamilton retained his position when the pair clashed at turn six and the Mercedes driver ran wide.
“Throughout the whole race I kept fighting,” said Verstappen. “And then, of course, that opportunity in the last lap. It’s incredible. I’m still having a cramp, but it’s insane.”
“Finally, a bit of luck for me,” he added.
Verstappen was aided by team mate Sergio Perez who crucially delayed Hamilton early in the race. That allowed Verstappen to close the gap on his rival.
“I also want to say a big thank you to Checo,” said Verstappen. “He was driving his heart out as well today. It was great teamwork and he’s an amazing team mate.”
The 24-year-old made his F1 debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso as a Red Bull junior, aged just 17, and was promoted to Red Bull’s main team the following year. He thanked team principal Christian Horner and motorsport consultant Helmut Marko for the faith they showed in him after becoming champion.
“To my team, I think they know I love them and I hope we can do this for 10, 15 years together,” he said. “There’s no reason to change ever, I want to stay with them for the rest of my life. I hope they let me.
“But it’s insane, I’m so happy. And also Christian but also Helmut, trusting me to be in the team in 2016. Our goal, of course, was to win this championship, and now we have done that.”
“These guys, my team and of course Honda as well, they deserve it,” he added. “I love them so much and I really, really enjoy working with them already since 2016, but this year has been incredible.”
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