Max Verstappen won his maiden F1 world championship title in the most dramatic of circumstances after emerging victorious at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton looked set to win a record eighth crown that would have taken him ahead of the great Michael Schumacher but it wasn’t to be for the Englishman as he was overtaken by Verstappen on the final lap at the Yas Marina Circuit. Lewis Hamilton was coasting to a win in Abu Dhabi but the race was turned on its head when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed four laps from the end, triggering the appearance of the safety car.
Verstappen quickly pitted for new tyres, while Hamilton was told by his team to stay out and keep track position.
After initially saying lapped cars will not be allowed to unlap themselves, the officials allowed the cars that were between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap under the safety car, leaving the title rivals to duke it out when the racing resumed.
When racing resumed for the 58th and closing lap, Verstappen on his fresh tyres streaked past Hamilton to take the chequered flag and his first title.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner got the “miracle” him and his team were looking for while Mercedes were left shell-shocked by what had just transpired.
Twitter blew up after the race with many slamming the FIA for what they thought was unfair to Hamilton while others applauded Verstappen for his superhuman effort throughout the season.
There were many others who decided to have some fun and posted memes on the social media platform.
We tried to pick out the best of them here:
Latifi leaving the drivers boardroom after his crash pic.twitter.com/y9TI5bU5RR
— JW (@Wilffyyy) December 12, 2021
Latifi deciding to crash with 5 laps to go: pic.twitter.com/22IBtONq2C
— Matip is God (@FantasyplLad) December 12, 2021
Toto Wolff to Williams after Latifi’s crash pic.twitter.com/CBDBP3tBls
— Aishwary (@racefeedf1) December 13, 2021
The stages of the Abu Dhabi gp pic.twitter.com/65z5j9UvIA
— kelly (@f1kellyy) December 12, 2021
— Ed blythman (@Ed_Blythman) December 12, 2021
everybody watching the abu dhabi gp pic.twitter.com/o9by6VUVLk
— sam (@rbrseb) December 12, 2021
Verstappen to Hamilton when he overtook him in the last lap pic.twitter.com/oe7Zdz1lFc
— Naughty PT (@fpl_pt) December 12, 2021
— Ollie (@ollie_olly_olly) December 12, 2021
Watching the Abu Dhabi GP: pic.twitter.com/2iqaBUg5Wl
— MessengerPigeon (3,3) // (,) (@MoneyMaknPigeon) December 12, 2021
— Alex SHAQ Shafiq (@InkedUpSHAQ) December 12, 2021
— Tushar (@TusharShandilya) December 12, 2021
Max Verstappen passes Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the season’s last race to win his 1st World Championship.
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) December 12, 2021
Max Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton: pic.twitter.com/gjJqrc4qvS
— (@utdrobbo) December 12, 2021
“It’s insane,” he said. “My goal when I was little was to be a Formula One driver. You dream of podiums and victories. But when they tell you that you are world champion, it’s incredible.”
Hamilton was magnanimous in defeat, embracing his nemesis and saying: “Congratulations to Max and his team”.
The 36-year-old Briton added: “We gave it everything this last part of the season and never gave up, that’s the most important thing.”
(With AFP inputs)
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