One fan made a bizarre prediction ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season finale, and that prediction came true with under six laps to go.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pulled off a last-lap pass to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2021 Formula 1 world championship over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at Yas Marina Circuit this past Sunday following a controversial late restart.
Hamilton appeared to have the race win and what would have been a record-breaking eighth world championship in the bag, having built up a massive lead over Verstappen. He maintained a comfortable lead even after Verstappen pit for new tires under a virtual safety car period.
But with under six laps remaining in the 58-lap race around the 16-turn, 3.281-mile (5.280-kilometer) road course on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, things changed.
And while he didn’t specify the details, one fan saw it coming.
It may very well go down as one of the greatest predictions in the history of Formula 1.
Less than an hour before the start of the race, a fan tweeted that Latifi would determine the title.
It was a single-car crash by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi after a battle with Haas rookie Mick Schumacher that led to a full safety car period.
Verstappen, with nothing to lose, came into the pits for new soft tires. Hamilton, once again, stayed out.
The 24-year-old Dutchman maintained second place, but there were questions about the lapped cars separating him from Hamilton behind the safety car. There were also doubts about the race even restarting.
Despite the initial call by the FIA to keep the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen ahead of a restart with one lap remaining, those lapped cars were then told to pass the safety car.
Verstappen was left behind only Hamilton when the safety car pulled off the track ahead of a one-lap shootout for the world championship.
Verstappen prevailed, passing Hamilton in turn five. Hamilton mounted two serious challenges on his rival later in the lap, but Verstappen crossed the finish line 2.256 seconds ahead of the Mercedes driver.
It was the only lap Verstappen led all race. Hamilton had led 51 of the first 57 circuits.
While the Latifi crash didn’t technically “determine” the title, it was his accident that gave the outcome a chance to change from what it looked as though would be as the laps wound down.