Max Verstappen Wins the F1 World Champion Title, Mercedes hand in Protests against Red Bull!

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Max Verstappen has won the Formula 1 World Championship for the first time in his career. The 24-year-old Belgium driver needed to win this race to become the new champion. Lewis Hamilton had a total point score of 369.5 and Verstappen also had 369.5, but in the event of ties winners are decided on number of races won, meaning whoever won the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi would be the World Champion. It also meant that a crash would leave Verstappen as champion. There was high tension between both drivers and team principles, Christian Horner and Toto Wolff. However, was Max Verstappen win mainly due to his amazing driving skills or did luck also play a big role in his victory?

During the middle of the race, Max Verstappen looked hopeless compared to Hamilton. He was about 10 seconds behind the British man in lap 20/58. However his teammate Sergio Perez becomes the saving angel. He attempted to block Lewis Hamilton to great frustration from Lewis Hamilton. He managed to succeed and this bought the gap from 10 seconds to just under 1.5 seconds meaning that Max Verstappen was back in the race. Max Verstappen remarked, ” Checo is an absolute Legend” to which Red Bull replied, “absolute animal”, showing the loyalty and appreciation for both drivers in the team.

The peak of the race happened at lap 52/58 when the Canadian driver Latifi crashed against the wall on turn 15. The Crash was so significant that a safety car was required to escort all the vehicles at an appropriate pace. However, the removal of the Williams F1 car took longer than expected. However, it soon became clear that the Safety car would be removed at lap 57/58 meaning that the final lap would be normal racing. Lewis Hamilton was right behind the safety car which Max Verstappen on his tail. As soon as the Safety car departed Lewis Hamilton remained in the lead until when in turn 5 where Max Verstappen took over the 7 times world champion and drove his way to victory. When Max Verstappen¬†finished he said, ” In the final lap, unbelievable”. After the race, there was a meeting with his father, where all his emotions were released, representing a beautiful father and son moment.

However, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff was furious about the result. As a result, Mercedes handed in 2 protests specifically to the Red Bull driver Max Verstappen “over an alleged breach of the Sporting Regulations” which according to them had not been dismissed by the stewards. However, Lewis Hamilton had also been lucky during the race as he cut off a huge amount of the track at the start of the race, gaining about 20 meters and 1.5 seconds on Verstappen. After 4 days of anxious waiting, on the 16th of December, it was announced that Max Verstappen was the new and definite world champion of F1 racing. Both Mercedes Protests had been rejected by the F1 commission.

For the Dutch culture, this is an amazing achievement with Max Verstappen being the first Dutch F1 racer to ever be crowned as World Champion in F1. His coach, Christian Horner says that “Red Bull wants to quickly extend the contact with Max Verstappen, as he is the fastest driver we’ve ever had.” All of this should promise an exciting new F1 season next year with many Max vs Lewis moments to come!