Max Verstappen has described his experience during the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutch racer revealed he was “biting his teeth” when he overtook Lewis Hamilton to seal the fate of the 2021 F1 World Championship title.
Speaking to Will Buxton in a post-race interview for F1’s official channel, the newly crowned World Champion said:
“I always said was I'm just gonna push until the last lap. I'm not going to make it easy and I just kept believing that something might come my way at the end of the race. Of course, you never expect that to happen. After that safety car (incident) and then having that one-lap shootout I had the fresher tires on."
Verstappen went on to reveal that he had a massive disadvantage going into the last lap.
"I saw that's my chance, but the funny thing was I had a massive cramp on the last lap. So, when I went for the move already that whole straight as I take turns two, three flat, I had massive cramps. I was biting my teeth like “come on, come on” because it's really painful. So, I made the move and then, of course, there were two more long straights to battle with Lewis but having this cramp. So yeah, that was not really enjoyable.”
Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton on Saturday to take his tenth pole of the season. However, Verstappen made a poor start to the race. He was immediately overtaken by the latter at the start and lacked the pace to challenge Hamilton for the lead throughout the race.
If not for the late safety car intervention, Lewis Hamilton could have easily cruised to victory and sealed his eighth World Championship. However, luck played its part as Verstappen ended up at the top of the podium at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Max Verstappen “does not have any feelings” about 2022 at the moment
Max Verstappen has said he is not too bothered about the new cars and regulations coming into force at the moment. The world champion has revealed he will take a few weeks to savor his maiden title instead of focusing on 2022.
When asked whether he’s excited about the 2022 season with the arrival of the new generation of cars, Max Verstappen said:
“To be honest, at the moment right now, I don't have any feelings about it. I just want to enjoy what I've achieved this season together with the team. But of course, I also know that after a few days, maybe one or two weeks you know I need to be back in that mindset for next year where I'll try to defend the title.”
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was host to the last race for the current generation cars, before the arrival of radically different machinery, starting next year. Originally planned for 2021, the new regulations were pushed back by another year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The new technical regulations that govern how F1 cars should be designed, along with the cost cap, are aimed at fixing some of the long-standing issues in the sport. The new generation of cars, designed according to the new regulations, are expected to improve closer racing, unlike the current generation “qualifying cars”.