Verstappen clinched his maiden F1 world championship in dramatic and controversial circumstances after passing rival Lewis Hamilton during a final-lap shoot-out following a late Safety Car in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

The Red Bull driver had appeared set to miss out on the 2021 crown after trailing Hamilton for the entire race in their winner-takes-all showdown, but used his crucial tyre advantage to pass Hamilton on the last lap restart. 

Verstappen had previously insisted that winning or losing the title would not ‘change his life’ and he reiterated that stance again after Sunday’s finale. 

“No, my life will not change now,” Verstappen stressed. “I am, of course, very happy that I won the championship. 

“That’s the final achievement that I wanted in Formula 1, so everything else that comes now is a bonus. 

“Of course I will continue driving, but in terms of achievements, I have achieved everything in Formula 1 now.” 

Verstappen appeared to be overcome with emotion when he climbed out of his Red Bull after the race, and was seen sharing a private moment with his father before going on to the podium as the achievement began to sink in. 

“It all flashes through your head now, especially with my Dad, travelling through all of Europe for that one goal,” he explained. 

“First was, of course, to be in Formula 1, to hope that you can win a race, and you hear the national anthem, but them of course the ultimate goal was the World Championship, which is very hard to achieve but now that happened. 

“It’s just insane – but also to have all my close family friends, my Dad, my manager, my girlfriend all here, that makes it extra special.”