January 23, 2022

Verstappen feels “sorry” for Hamilton

On Sunday, at the Yas Marina circuit, Max Verstappen became the 34th World Champion in Formula 1 history. The Dutchman took advantage of a late exit from the safety car to get back on his rival Lewis Hamilton and s ‘arm soft tires to face the end of the race. Verstappen then only had one chance to claim the title, on the last lap, and he did it thanks to a pass at Turn 5 and has good defense on the next two straights.

Hamilton certainly had the advantage in Abu Dhabi, leading 51 of the 58 laps of the race, but in the end, everything was decided in this final loop. And Verstappen was the happier of the two crossing the finish line first. While he is delighted with the good fortune which allowed him to win his first title, the Red Bull driver recognizes that the defeat is particularly bitter for his rival.

“There was a side that was incredibly happy and a side that was disappointed”, he said on Monday, referring to the explosion of joy in the Red Bull stand and the cold shower at Mercedes. “Of course I feel sorry for Lewis. He did everything right in the race but F1 can be very unpredictable. And of course it can go both ways. It could have been there. The reverse is also true, I could have controlled the race before losing on the last lap. Unfortunately, that is also part of the race. “

Like the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 2021 F1 season was all about a bitter battle between Verstappen and Hamilton. Neither of them were allowed to make mistakes and, out of the 22 races on the calendar, they shared the first two places 14 times. So the pressure was particularly intense on both sides of the garage.

“We were pushing each other but we were also pushing the whole team to another level, which they maybe didn’t think possible”, Verstappen specified. “So it was very intense for everyone. To fight in each race, everything had to be perfect with the strategy, the preparation before the weekend, the reliability, etc. There was a lot of pressure and stress for everyone involved. “

Knocked out by this defeat on the last lap, Lewis Hamilton remained prostrate for a long time in the cockpit of his Mercedes before answering only questions asked by F1 before the podium ceremony. Since then, the Briton and his team have taken refuge in silence. Verstappen has been sympathetic to this reaction and is already preparing for his opponent’s response next year.

“Lewis is a great sportsman. It’s racing, everyone reacts in their own way, be it positive or negative. But he will come back being very strong, because he is an incredible driver”, he concluded.

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