Max Verstappen defeated Lewis Hamilton in dramatic circumstances to win the Formula One Drivers’ Championship last season, and it appears the rivalry between the two drivers hasn’t gone away
Max Verstappen has showed no sympathy for rival Lewis Hamilton over the Brit’s Formula One heartbreak in the final race of the previous campaign.
The gripping title race finally reached its conclusion when Verstappen beat Hamilton in dramatic circumstances on the final-lap of the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi in December to win his first-ever world championship.
In doing so, the Dutchman became the fourth-youngest driver to win the F1 title behind Fernando Alonso, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton had led for most of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but a safety car was introduced into the race following Nicholas Latifi’s crash with only a few laps to go in the contest.
Race director Michael Masi then asked only the five lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton to overtake the safety car.
Such a move helped allow Verstappen to pip Hamilton during the last lap to win his maiden title.
But when asked how he would feel if he suffered Hamilton’s fate on the final lap, the F1 champion showed no sympathy in his response.
“For me it’s difficult to picture myself in that situation, because I’m not a seven-time world champion,” he told The Guardian.
“If I was already a seven-time world champion it hurts a bit less than when I am fighting for my first, leading all the way, controlling it all the way, and then losing it on the last lap. That would be way more painful than already having seven in the bag.”
A win for Hamilton in Abu Dhabi would have clinched a record eighth title and moved him one ahead of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.
However, that didn’t seem to faze Verstappen who implied Hamilton should be content with the number of titles he already has under his belt.
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“Yeah, but just look back on the seven you have,” he said. “I don’t think it’s so bad, is it?”
Verstappen was recently named Autosport’s International Driver of the Year after his successful title-winning campaign and the 24-year-old has said he ready is to chase after another world championship in the upcoming season.
“It has been a very intense year,” Verstappen said.
“A big thank you to all the fans, and also to Red Bull Racing and Honda for providing me with a winning car
“The ultimate goal is to win the World Championship and now we’ve achieved that.
“It’s something truly incredible but of course, I’m also looking forward to this year again and then see the orange army all over the world again.”
Verstappen will begin his title defence when the new F1 season gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.
That race will then be followed up with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah the following weekend.
The 2022 season will also be a record-breaking one with 23 races set to feature for the first-ever time, with May’s Miami Grand Prix joining the schedule for its debut.