As the new Formula 1 season inexorably approaches, the memories of the previous year are still fresh for many. For example, with Max Verstappen, who can still remember exactly how he experienced the dramatic fight against Lewis Hamilton in the cockpit.
There are moments that a Formula 1 driver never forgets in his life. The final lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix undoubtedly belongs in this category for World Champion Max Verstappen.
“What was going on in my head? I said to myself: I have to overtake him. There is only this option. I will not finish second,” recalled the Dutchman in an interview with the “Guardians” of the fateful final kilometers that made him world champion.
Already at the restart for the last lap he went all out, Verstappen said: “Everything worked fine until I crossed the line and got a cramp in my leg. That’s pretty much the most painful thing that can happen to you because you [in Abu Dhabi] have to drive at full throttle for a long time.”
His leg hurt more and more as the lap progressed, the Red Bull driver explained: “Fortunately, turn five came and I made my move. I wasn’t on the gas for about three seconds.”
Max Verstappen “completely exhausted” after duel with Lewis Hamilton
When Lewis Hamilton counterattacked on the straight, his foot trembled. This trembling accompanied him to the finish line: “If you look at the data, you will see that my accelerator pedal input wasn’t really clean,” laughed the Dutchman.
In the end he was “completely exhausted”, added Verstappen: “One more lap and I wouldn’t have been able to finish the race like that. The stress level was just so high that my body reacted to it. But you just can’t give up .”
Meanwhile, the Dutchman could not remember what Lewis Hamilton said after the race. “I think he said ‘Congratulations’ but I don’t remember the exact words. But of course it was nice of him to come to me right after the race.”
According to his own statement, Verstappen has not had any contact with the Briton since the meeting on the podium. “But that’s also quite normal. We live our own lives and see each other often enough.”
Max Verstappen: “It was the most painful thing ever”
According to his own statement, Verstappen has no worries that the ongoing FIA investigation might come to the conclusion that the race management violated the rules and that the world title would be subsequently revoked. “You can’t change anything anymore,” said the Dutchman.
The controversy does not change the fact that he deserves the title, the Red Bull driver added: “I had a very good season and deserved it. People forget that I was very unlucky. They only remember that last races, but if you look at the season as a whole, the World Championship should have been decided much earlier.”
Verstappen was unlucky at Silverstone, among other places, when he was literally shot down by Hamilton in a high-speed corner. “It was the most painful thing of all. It hurt in terms of points, but it was really painful. My neck, my back, my shoulders. I can take a lot, but it’s not good for your body and your head, an impact like that to have.”