Max Verstappen wins F1 world Championship from Lewis Hamilton on the final lap
A late Safety Car wipes out Hamilton’s lead, giving Verstappen an unexpected chance to beat his British opponent and win the 2021 title; Late Safety Car protocol enrages Mercedes
With five circuits to go, a crash for Nicholas Latifi in the Williams brought out the Safety Car and ended an outstanding season.
Verstappen got new soft tyres, but Hamilton kept his previous pair.
A final-lap restart generated a Hamilton-Verstappen one-two as Race Control ordered five lapped cars to rejoin the pack on the penultimate tour.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton down the inside at Turn Five, taking the win and the championship away from his Mercedes opponent.
Verstappen wins his first title and Red Bull’s second following Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s unbelievable,” Verstappen added. “Throughout the whole race I kept fighting and to have an opportunity on the last lap, it’s incredible. I’m having cramp. It’s insane.”
Despite his dismay with the remarkable late turnaround, Hamilton rushed directly to parc ferme to congratulate Verstappen.
“Firstly congratulations to Max and to his team. I think we did an amazing job this year,” said Hamilton. “My team, everyone back at the factory, have worked so hard this whole year, it’s been the most difficult of seasons. I’m so proud of them and I’m so grateful to be a part of the journey with them.
“This last part of the season we gave it absolutely everything and never gave up.”