Verstappen officially crowned 2021 F1 champion at FIA prize-giving gala

Max Verstappen has been officially crowned 2021 Formula 1 champion after being presented with the world drivers’ trophy at the FIA’s end of season prize-giving gala in Paris.
Verstappen officially crowned 2021 F1 champion at FIA prize-giving gala

Verstappen clinched his maiden F1 title in dramatic circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap. 

The race has been overshadowed by controversy after Mercedes protested the result after it felt that FIA race director didn’t correctly follow the sporting regulations with the Safety Car procedure.

On Thursday morning, Mercedes withdrew its appeal but promised to “hold the FIA accountable”. 

Hamilton and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff decided against attending the prize-giving ceremony, while Verstappen, Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Valtteri Bottas - who finished third in the drivers’ championship - were all present.

Mercedes' technical chief James Allison collected the constructors' trophy for the team in Wolff's absence.

Ahead of the trophy presentation, Verstappen said: “Of course, it sounds very good but it’s more for me the journey towards this championship especially you achieve it, you start thinking about all of the hours and the years leading up to it - that was for me more emotional then of course hearing ‘world champion’.

“It’s amazing that we achieved this. It’s been a very long and tough season. I really need some sleep! I had one drink on Sunday night… one too many, probably. I woke up, probably in the afternoon, 1 or 2pm on Monday thinking I had a free day but then I realised I actually didn’t have a free day so I had four hours of filming. I had a massive headache [when I woke up on Monday]. 

“I have been really enjoying it so far but I also really need a break. It wasn’t easy, I always needed to try to be perfect the whole year. I think once you then finish the last race, everything came out. Also, my body when I was driving on Tuesday [in the test] it wasn’t particularly great, it was hurting quite a bit, also because of the cramp from the last lap which of course, I didn’t get treated on because everyone was jumping around plus also my hydration levels weren’t great on Tuesday. It’s been very good.”

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