Verstappen has "nothing to prove" after Abu Dhabi F1 controversy

Max Verstappen has insisted that he has “nothing to prove” despite winning the 2021 Formula 1 drivers' championship in controversial circumstances.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing.

Verstappen clinched his maiden F1 title on the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after he benefitted from a late-race Safety Car caused by Williams' Nicholas Latifi.

The Dutchman overtook his title rival on the final lap to become the first non-Mercedes champion since 2013.

The ending to the race at the Yas Marina Circuit has been placed under great scrutiny because of former race director Michael Masi's failure to follow the FIA's sporting regulations under the Safety Car.

As a result of what happened, Masi lost his job as race director for this season and the FIA has made several changes to how to race control monitors races in 2022 while also conducting a deep investigation into what happened in Abu Dhabi with the findings set to be released over the weekend.

Speaking on Friday morning, Verstappen said that his performances across the season made him a worthy champion.

“No, I proved that with the most wins, most pole and most laps led,” Verstappen said. “People forget that, they only look at Abu Dhabi apparently. We have more races than only Abu Dhabi in the season.”

Red Bull goes into this season as arguably the favourites after an impressive end to pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Verstappen continued to show strong pace in Friday practice at the Bahrain International Circuit, edging out Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in second practice.

He admitted that it will be difficult to replicate his 2021 win tally of 10 and podium haul of 18 this season.

“Well if you look at last season, we could have had more wins and more poles even,” Verstappen added. “But you need a really competitive car to be able to do that. It’s going to be really difficult to do something like that again.

“Of course, you always try and do better so I hope if we have a very competitive car again we can reach something similar.”

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