Four days after winning the dramatic Abu Dhabi GP, the 24-year-old got his hands on the driver's championship trophy.
Max Verstappen was officially crowned the 2021 F1 Champion after receiving the trophy at the FIA Awards Ceremony. Lewis Hamilton did not participate in this award ceremony after this season’s controversial decision. Four days after winning the dramatic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and his first title, 24-year-old Verstappen got the driver’s championship trophy that he had long dreamed of in Paris on Thursday night.
“Becoming world champion is my life goal achieved. Everything that comes next is a bonus,” said Verstappen, F1’s 34th and fourth-youngest world champion.
“Of course I am going to keep pushing and I’m going to be in F1 for a few more years yet. While it’s nice to be called world champion, I think more about the long journey and the all the hours I have spent working with my Dad to be here. It’s been a long and tough season and I feel amazing to have finally achieved my goal.”
“I hope I can do this many more times. It’s been an incredible battle with Lewis, one of the greatest drivers ever in Formula 1. We really pushed each other. At the end of the day, we can look each other in the eyes and respect each other which is really important,” the Dutchman added.
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Neither Hamilton nor Toto Wolff, the boss of the Mercedes team, was present. The event took place hours after Mercedes withdrew its appeal against the race finals last weekend, but Wolff said he was “dissatisfied” and “takes a long time to digest” what happened. rice field. The Mercedes, which won the record eighth Constructors’ title on Sunday, also did not send Formula 1 and Formula E championship cars to Paris, and was represented by technical director James Allison. Hamilton is at the event because Article 6.6 of the F1 Sporting Regulations states that “drivers who finish first, second or third in the championship must attend the annual FIA Awards Ceremony.”
“I won’t be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity,” explained Wolff earlier on Thursday.
In addition to Allison, Valtteri Bottas was also present. The Flying Finn was third in the championship. At a press conference on Thursday, Wolff admitted that both he and Hamilton were “dissatisfied” after the event in Abdavi, and the latter is certain. It did not give any guarantee of returning to F1 in 2022.
These comments were put to Verstappen at the FIA Gala, who said, “I can understand that the first few days after a race like that you’re not happy but you should also understand this is racing.”
“I think he should just look back at what he has achieved already. That should give him a lot of comfort and should also be that drive to just keep on going because he is still trying to challenge for that eighth title and for sure he can do that again next year. So I don’t see any reason why to give up or stop now,” the F1 champion added.