A year ago Verstappen won his first F1 championship by pipping Lewis Hamilton to the finish in the season-finale, in part due to race director Michael Masi’s incorrect application of a Safety Car rule.

Verstappen is now a two-time champion and won the 2022 race after returning to Abu Dhabi, where he told Sky: “It has been a crazy year in general. Coming back here brings back memories from that weekend which was pretty stressful at the time.

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“When I got home, I watched it. It gave me goosebumps.

“I was nervous, very nervous. It was the most important lap of my career.

“The worst thing that happened? I crossed the line. In the middle of the straight, I got a cramp in my leg! In my calf. Trying to stay at full throttle! I couldn’t control it!”

Verstappen said about his late overtake of Hamilton which effectively won him the championship: “My instinct said: ‘I need to go for it’. I went for it. Nobody expected it - not my dad, not Christian Horner. 

“I was in the lead but had two long straights with my foot [in pain!] You are fighting for the championship and need to deal with this stuff. It was really painful.

“It was the biggest emotion of my life. I heard on the radio that people were crying.”

Hamilton was denied an all-time record eighth title due to the controversial finish.

Verstappen revealed sympathy for his great rival: “It was all looking great, then something like that happened. It is tough. 

“I said to myself at the time: ‘He has seven world championships including one which looked like he might lose out until the final corner so I hope he could understand, at least a little bit, the difference of emotion’.

“We had our moments where we got together. I always respected him. We had a great battle.”

Verstappen revealed about his F1 future: “I signed until 2028 when I will be 31. I don’t know if I will continue in F1, it depends if we are competitive. F1 is great but it’s a lot of travelling and a lot of races. Is family more important or is F1 more important?”

Hamilton and Verstappen will renew their battle next year in the sport's longest-ever season - the F1 2023 calendar has a record 24 races.