Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out
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Max Verstappen has been labelled the ‘fastest’ F1 driver by AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost – who also claimed the Dutchman deserved his championship. Verstappen secured a maiden world title in a dramatic and controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Both he and title rival Lewis Hamilton went into the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit tied on points.
The Dutchman passed the seven-time world champion – who had dominated for much of the race – on the final lap after a late Safety Car and tyre change swung momentum in his favour.
He made the move on the Brit early in the lap and held on to secure the first championship of his career.
The controversial ending has seen Mercedes lodge two protests, but Tost believes the championship was fair reward for Verstappen given the season he had.
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The Dutchman led more laps in the championship as well as securing the most pole positions and wins.
“What an unbelievable race for the final round in Abu Dhabi,” Tost said in AlphaTauri’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review.
“Congratulations to Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Honda for winning the World Championship title.
“They did an incredible job during the year and Max really deserved this.
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“This year he was the fastest driver and the team did a fantastic job.”
Tost’s team AlphaTauri finished the season in sensational style as rookie Yuki Tsunoda registered his best result in F1 with a P4 finish at the finale.
His exceptional performance was emulated by star teammate Pierre Gasly, who finished right behind in fifth as AlphaTauri finished sixth in the constructors’ championship.
Their tally of 142 points across the season was the best in the team’s history.
“We are also happy from our side because we brought home a very good race result, the best of the year, and collected 22 points with Yuki in P4 and Pierre in P5, having started the race in P8 and P12,” Tost commented.
“We mixed up the strategy with Yuki starting the race on the mediums, while Pierre was on a new set of hard tyres.
“Both of them did a very clever first stint and managed their tyres very well.
“Pierre got caught up behind [Fernando] Alonso. I think he could have been much faster but nevertheless, thanks to the Safety Car and very good strategy decisions, the team managed to cross the chequered flag with both drivers in the top five.”
With exciting new regulations set to be brought in for 2022, Tost hopes the impressive performance can provide a foundation to build on for the new campaign.
“We finish the season on 142 points, the highest we have ever scored in the history of the team and only 13 points behind Alpine,” Tost concluded.
“The team made a big step forward in all areas and I’m now really looking forward to next year with hopefully a competitive new car to fight for strong positions.”
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