Verstappen wins 2021 F1 world championship
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David Coulthard has shut down any suggestion that Lewis Hamilton will look to walk away from F1 after losing to Max Verstappen in agonising fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Millions tuned in on Sunday afternoon to watch Hamilton against Verstappen with the two title protagonists level on points after 21 races.
Verstappen held the advantage on Saturday, taking pole ahead of Hamilton but the seven-time world champion surprisingly made the better start and took the lead into the first corner.
After a contentious moment a few turns later, Hamilton went on to build a strong lead over his rival.
A virtual safety car later in the race gave Verstappen the opportunity to pit for fresh tyres, with Hamilton panicking on team radio about the Dutchman being able to catch him.
But the British F1 icon kept his cool and, heading into the final laps, looked to have the championship sewn up.
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That all changed when Nicholas Latifi crashed out with a safety car once again playing into the hands of Verstappen.
Mercedes were then left shocked and mortified after Michael Masi’s last minute call to allow the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappn through for a straight shoot-out between the title rivals on the final lap.
On soft tyres, Verstappen inevitably made his move to take the chequered flag with Mercedes still reeling in their garage.
Hamilton was gracious in defeat as he was one of the first to congratulate Verstappen, but there was one final comment from the Mercedes driver which some took as a potential retirement hint.
“We will see,” Hamilton said at the end of his post-race interview.
But Coulthard doesn’t think the seven-time F1 champion has any plans to quit.
“Hamilton’s commitment is unquestionable,” Coulthard told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He showed why he was a seven-time world champion. He is a phenomenon and he’s an incredible sportsperson.
“He’s already committed to another two years. He’s a team person, he’s committed to that team and he’ll be there next year trying to win his eighth world title.
“I think he’s got inner peace. He’ll clearly be disappointed, to say the least, but you’ve got to try and imagine putting yourself in his shoes; he is a great racing driver, he’s won multiple championships and he’s overcome adversity in his racing career.
“This is just another one of those moments that will not dilute the many great moments in his career.
“He is a fantastic example to sportsmen and women out there on how to handle defeat.
“He recognised the challenge of Verstappen and these are the moments that he lives for.
“Yes, he would have wanted to win but he showed his brilliance once again.”
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