This season had been heralded as one of many best within the sport’s historical past and the title race went right down to one of the crucial “insane” last laps potential.
Hamilton had all however gained his record-breaking eighth world title till Williams Racing driver Nicholas Latifi crashed into the limitations with 4 laps remaining, ensuing within the security automobile being referred to as out.
It meant the race restarted on the ultimate lap, with Verstappen allowed to start out nearly side-by-side Hamilton, regardless of the Brit having established a wholesome lead.
The Dutchman, on new tires, had the tempo to overhaul his rival and win one of the crucial dramatic F1 races ever.
“It is insane. I do not know what to say. I am so happy for the group and for all these guys. I really like working with them a lot,” an emotional and barely shocked Verstappen mentioned after the race.
“Lastly, right this moment, I had a little bit of luck. My group know I really like them and I wish to do that with them for the following 10 or 15 years!”
The victory means Verstappen prevented Hamilton from surpassing the report he nonetheless shares with racing legend Michael Schumacher.
Mercedes later confirmed it had lodged a proper protest on the finish of the race.
A race like no different
The 2 titanic rivals arrived on the Yas Marina Circuit stage on factors, establishing the proper finish to a title race which got here right down to the very last moments.
However it was Hamilton who began the race higher from second, overtaking Verstappen earlier than the primary nook and dominating the vast majority of the Grand Prix with the Mercedes tempo.
There was controversy, as there was all through the season, with Purple Bull adamant that Hamilton ought to have given his first place again to Verstappen after the Mercedes man went off the observe following contact together with his rival.
Stewards, nonetheless, determined to not examine the incident and allowed Hamilton to proceed in first.
Purple Bull then resorted to its Plan B, with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez expertly holding up Hamilton after the Mercedes driver emerged from the pit lane in second.
The Brit lastly discovered a well past the Purple Bull however not till he had Verstappen again on his heels.
However Hamilton seemed to have achieved sufficient, increase a double-digit second lead, and was cruising to victory earlier than the mayhem of the ultimate lap.
With the win, Verstappen completed the season on 395.5 factors, whereas Hamilton completed second on 387.5.
Mercedes group principal Toto Wolff was left visibly livid after stewards allowed the race to complete with such drama, however Hamilton was sporting in defeat.
“Firstly, congratulations to Max and his group. I feel we did an incredible job this yr. The group, everybody again on the manufacturing facility, all of the women and men we’ve got, labored so exhausting all yr in a tough season,” he mentioned after the race.
“I’m so happy with them, and so grateful to be a part of the journey with them. We gave it all the pieces this final a part of the season and by no means gave up, that is a very powerful factor.
“In fact, I’ve felt nice within the automobile this previous couple of months, significantly on the finish. I hope everybody stays protected within the pandemic and has good Christmas throughout this time and we’ll see about subsequent yr.”
In the meantime, amid the controversy, Mercedes claimed an eighth consecutive constructors’ championship however that can be little comfort to these concerned.