World champion Verstappen reflects on ‘insane, intense, and crazy’ season
Max Verstappen’s father Jos has opened up on messages he received from Lewis Hamilton’s father Anthony during their intense world championship rivalry this season. Verstappen won the F1 world title on the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi in controversial circumstances which left the Hamilton camp devastated, and saw Mercedes initially protest against the FIA’s handling of the race.
Afterwards, however, Lewis Hamilton was magnanimous in defeat. Pictures showed he and his father walk into the Red Bull garage to congratulate the Verstappen family on their maiden world championship.
“When I was sitting with Max before he went up to the podium, [Lewis’ father] Anthony was there,” Jos Verstappen said. “He congratulated us, so that was really nice. Also, during the season, I had some conversations with him over WhatsApp. He’s really nice. They’ve won seven titles already so, for them, it is a bit different to when we won the first one, but he’s always respectful.”
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Read the full story on Toto Wolff’s claim that Mercedes would have one the F1 world title in court had they pursued it:
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 13:18
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 13:08
Perez’s first full season at Red Bull coincided with Verstappen’s maiden F1 championship, as the Dutchman defeated Lewis Hamilton at the final race of the season to claim the title.
Verstappen was the dominant driver of the season, winning 10 races, but Perez’s contribution was illustrated by his committed defending against Hamilton during the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Red Bull have traditionally struggled to fill the second seat alongside Verstappen, with Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly struggling during their stints with the team, but Formula One’s newest champion revealed Perez had exceeded his expectations.
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 13:08
Hamilton, who was denied the chance to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles, is still contracted to Mercedes for another two years, but Palmer believes Verstappen and Red Bull will be an even greater force next season.
“You wonder where [Verstappen] can go from here now that he has his first title under his belt,” Palmer wrote in his column.
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 12:24
Read the full story on Nico Rosberg’s take on Lewis Hamilton’s future:
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 12:01
Lewis Hamilton is set to face punishment for skipping the FIA’s season-ending gala in Paris this week, the newly-elected president of Formula One’s governing body has confirmed.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem said he had sympathy for Hamilton but insisted that rules must be followed and added: “If there is any breach, there is no forgiveness on this.”
Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff skipped the Thursday night gala, despite Article 6.6 of the F1 regulations requiring the top three drivers in the Championship to be present. It is unclear what type of sanctions are at the FIA’s disposal.
“Forgiveness is always there but rules are rules,” added Ben Sulayem, who was elected on Friday after receiving just under 62 per cent of the vote in a two-horse race with Britain’s Graham Stoker.
“They are there to be improved but we have to look if there is any breach. It doesn’t stop us from making a champion feel good about the sport.”
The 60-year-old from the United Arab Emirates refused to be drawn on the implications of the controversial ending to last Sunday’s Championship-deciding Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, other than to confirm that procedures would be put in place to avoid any future such confusion.
“I have promised we will look into the rules and make sure that any situation of this sort that occurs in the future, we will have an instant solution for it,” added Ben Sulayem.
“We had a meeting with the drivers and I feel that what happened has been declared now. The FIA took a decision, we discussed it and there was a statement, and now we have to start the new season.
“We have to be proactive and reactive. I feel it is a time where as a driver I would be so upset for a while, but time is a factor that will cool. After the holidays and Christmas, in the new year we will start afresh.”
Ben Sulayem will inherit a promise from his predecessor Jean Todt to embark upon a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” in the wake of the Abu Dhabi controversy, which culminated in Max Verstappen claiming his maiden world crown.
Ben Sulayem is a former 14-time Middle East Rally champion, and has been president of the Emirates Motorsports Organisation since 2005.
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 11:55
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has compared Lewis Hamilton missing out on the Formula One world title to Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ – but denied claims the driver was “cheated” out of a record-breaking eighth championship.
Mercedes and Wolff were left furious after Verstappen was allowed to position himself behind Hamilton on fresh tyres following a late safety car at the Yas Marina Circuit. Wolff called the actions of race director Michael Masi “unacceptable” while Mercedes boss and Wolff’s wife Susie has also claimed that Hamilton was “robbed” of the championship.
In an interview with BILD, Wolff went on to compare Verstappen’s dramatic title win to Maradona’s infamous first goal against England at the 1986 World Cup, as well as England’s winner against Germany in the 1966 World Cup final that caused debate over whether it crossed the line.
“It is definitely on a par with the ‘Hand of God’ by Diego Maradona or the Wembley goal from 1966,” Wolff said.
“An inconsistent decision by the race director took the title away from Lewis,” he added, after rejecting that his driver had been “cheated”.
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 11:45
Wolff was critical of Masi’s decision to allow some but not all the cars at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to pass the safety car following a late crash at the Yas Marina Circuit, which allowed Verstappen to line up behind Hamilton after having pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres.
“I am not interested in having a conversation with Michael Masi,” Wolff said.
“The decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have dropped Lewis Hamilton from a deserved world championship. His driving, particularly in the last four races, was faultless. He had a commanding lead on Sunday in Abu Dhabi from the get-go.
“He won the start and he never gave the lead away again. Robbing him in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.
“That is why, from a personal standpoint, from a professional standpoint I cannot… my values and my sense of integrity just isn’t compatible with the decisions that have been made on Sunday.”
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 11:28
Mercedes would have been “almost guaranteed” a legal victory had their appeal of the controversial Formula One title result taken place in a regular courtroom, team boss Toto Wolff has claimed.
The team had launched two protests of how the closing stages of the race were allowed to unfold by race director Michael Masi, which were thrown out by stewards, before they lodged their intention to appeal that decision.
Wolff and Mercedes had until Thursday to decide whether they would take their protest to the International Court of Appeal [ICA] but eventually stood down following discussions with the FIA.
But Wolff has insisted that even though Mercedes have dropped their appeal, the team have not accepted the result of the race which denied Hamilton a record-breaking eighth world title.
“We believe we had a very strong case and if you look at it from the legal side, if it would have been judged in a regular court, it was almost guaranteed that we would have won,” Wolff said when asked how close Mercedes were to lodging a further appeal.
“The problem with the ICA is the way it’s structured. The FIA can’t really mark their own homework and there is a difference between being right and obtaining justice.
“So there is there is a lesson to be learned. How can we ensure that, going forward, in situations like that the right decisions are being taken?
“But neither [did we] want to win a world championship in the courtroom.”
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 11:03
Read the full story on Bernie Ecclestone’s comments about Sir Lewis Hamilton “not deserving” to be knighted.
Lawrence Ostlere20 December 2021 10:47