Lewis Hamilton stays humble in defeat by congratulating fierce rival Max Verstappen after he dethroned him as champion of the world in dramatic final race at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton was humble in his defeat and congratulated Max Verstappen
- The Dutch driver won the World Championship title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Safety car chaos on the last lap allowed him to overtake Hamilton on newer tyres
- Hamilton led for most of the race, and looked set win his record eighth title
Lewis Hamilton remained humble in his defeat and congratulated Max Verstappen after the Dutchman dethroned him as champion of the world.
Verstappen secured his first Formula One world championship with a victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.
The pair had gone into the race level on points but it was Hamilton who was leading the Yas Marina decider until the very last lap.
Hamilton stayed humble in defeat after Verstappen dethroned him as champion of the world
Hamilton executed an incredible start from second on the grid to take the lead heading into turn one. He maintained his lead until Verstappen bypassed him on the final lap.
The circumstances surrounding Verstappen’s overtake were controversial as the safety car chaos that took place after Nicholas Latifi’s crash allowed the Dutchman to change his tyres.
Verstappen took the free stop; Hamilton, to his astonishment and nerve-jangling annoyance, didn’t. As a result, Verstappen powered through at Turn 5 while Hamilton was helpless on his own rubber with the Dutchman breathing down his neck.
Verstappen’s victory denied Hamilton of his eight championship, but the Brit remained humble in defeat.
Speaking after the race, Hamilton said: ‘Firstly big congratulations to Max and his team. I think we did an amazing job this year, my team, everyone back at the factory, all the men and women, we have worked so hard all year.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton’s on the last lap and held him off to cross the line in first place
As a result, Verstappen claimed his first F1 World Championship title at 24 years old
‘It’s been the most difficult of seasons. I’m so proud of them, so grateful to be on the journey with them. We gave it absolutely everything, we never gave up and that’s the most important thing.
‘Of course I’ve been feeling great in the car this past couple of months, particularly at the end.
‘But if I’m honest, we’re still in the pandemic and I just wish everyone to stay safe and have a good Christmas with their families, and we’ll see about next year.’
Meanwhile, Verstappen was almost lost for words after his championship win. He said: ‘It’s insane. I don’t know what to say. I’m so pleased for the team and for all these guys.
‘I love working with them so much. Finally today I had a bit of luck. My team know I love them and I want to do this with them for the next 10 or 15 years.’
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