Jos Verstappen has admitted that he was not able to watch the entire Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. featuring his son Max, who won his first F1 world championship.
Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to claim his first title in the final lap of the race at the end of a truly thrilling season..
Hamilton, of Mercedes, looked to have his eighth world championship signed and sealed until Nicholas Latifi crashed with a few laps remaining, with a safety car brought out.
In turn, Verstappen was able to pit for another fresh set of tyres. It still took a remarkable turn in fortune – but the 24-year-old pulled off the spectacular, winning the race to snub Hamilton of a record eighth world title.
And after the race, Verstappen’s delighted father admitted at one point he had to turn away.
Former F1 star Jos said: “I’m very proud. Because of the Safety Car we are in this situation, but still you have to do it and I think the team had a good strategy to call him in.
“Max was the driver this year and he really deserves this championship.
“I think the whole team was worried because we know Mercedes’ speed. But still he kept fighting, he always fights. That’s in his DNA and that’s what he’s done today. He said that every lap he was flat out and he was driving to the maximum.
“He only had one chance, one lap and that’s what he took.
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“During the race I walked away as I didn’t believe it any more but I came back for the last lap.”
The race was marred with a bit of controversy, however. The FIA had announced that lapped cars could not overtake but gave the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen permission to do so.
It meant there was one lap of racing on the restart – and Verstappen’s fresh tyres paid off, taking the lead off Hamilton and eventually the win.
But despite this, Hamilton paid his respects to winner Verstappen.
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He 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.