LEWIS HAMILTON and Max Verstappen shared an emotional embrace following one of the greatest Formula One world title battles in history. Hamilto
LEWIS HAMILTON and Max Verstappen shared an emotional embrace following one of the greatest Formula One world title battles in history.
Hamilton hugged his race rival after being denied a record eighth world title following an incredible season-long battle with the Red Bull star.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen shared an emotional embrace[/caption]
The pair were level in the drivers’ standings heading into the final race on Sunday – but there was drama right at the end.
Hamilton looked to be cruising towards the race win that would’ve given him an eighth world title.
But a safety car on lap 54 when Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barriers threw up one final dramatic twist.
Dutchman Verstappen chased down Hamilton on the final lap after pitting for fresh tyres under a safety car.
The safety car entered the pit lane with one lap remaining – and that freed up Verstappen for one final crack at the leader Hamilton.
And the young Dutch star grabbed his last-ditch chance to overtake Hamilton on turn five before streaking clear.
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Verstappen becomes the first non-British or German racer since Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 to be crowned champ.
It ended Hamilton’s four-year reign, and Mercedes seven consecutive wins.
Verstappen said: “It’s unbelievable. Throughout the whole race I kept fighting and to have an opportunity on the last lap, it’s incredible.
“I’m having cramp. It’s insane. I don’t know what to say. My team and Honda, they deserve it.
“I love them so much and I really really enjoy working with them. This year has been incredible. Finally a bit of luck for me.
“I also need to say a big thank you to Checo. He was driving his heart out today, it was great team-work and he’s an amazing team-mate.
“My team know I love them and I hope we can do this for 10-15 years together.
“There’s no reason to change ever, I want to stay with them for the rest of my life. I hope they let me.
Hamilton said: “Firstly congratulations to Max and to his team.
“I think we did an amazing job this year. My team, everyone back at the factory, have worked so hard this whole year, it’s been the most difficult of seasons.
“I’m so proud of them and I’m so grateful to be a part of the journey with them.
“This last part of the season we gave it absolutely everything and never gave up.”
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