Verstappen’s adorable throwback snap with hero Schumacher

Verstappen wins 2021 F1 world championship

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An old picture of Michael Schumacher, 52, and Max Verstappen, 24, has made the rounds on social media as the young driver has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and his first Formula One World Championship.

Red Bull’s Verstappen grabbed his first F1 world title in disputed circumstances by beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in an exhilarating finale to the season that the two drivers entered level on points.

Hamilton was on course for his eighth world title with six laps remaining as he was cruising 11 seconds ahead of Verstappen.

Then, however, the dramatic race made Verstappen, who in 2015, aged 17, became the youngest driver in the history of the sport, the first Dutchman to win the F1 world championship.

Beating a confident, seven-time champion Hamilton is celebrated by crowds of F1 fans as an impressive achievement – but not without controversy.

Throughout the season, accusations between teams grew and tensions heightened. The Grand Prix has ended on such lines.

Hamilton had led the race from the first corner to the penultimate lap.

Then, after a late safety car, Red Bull pitted Verstappen and put him on newer tyres while Hamilton stayed on old ones.

So, the race was restarted and the 24-year-old pushed past Hamilton to victory.

Mercedes, furious, launched two protests – one on lapped cars being allowed and one over Verstappen overtaking a safety car.

The first protest read: “Protest by Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team against Car 33, alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

The second read: “Protest by Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team against the classification established at the end of the Competition, alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

Sky Sports F1 expert Ted Kravitz has suggested Verstappen could be slapped with a five-second penalty if he is found guilty of passing Hamilton before the line at the restart on the final lap.

Hamilton, less than five seconds behind Verstappen, would own the title if such a penalty was applied.

FIA make announcement after concluding Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen protest [ANALYSIS]
Red Bull mock Mercedes over Lewis Hamilton protest as barrister intervenes [INSIGHT]
David Coulthard picks out two ‘controversial’ calls Michael Masi must answer in protest [REPORT]

Meanwhile, Martin Brundle, who thinks Mercedes may push for the final lap to be cancelled, suggested: “Mercedes will obviously say they want a lap count back, I’m not sure where the regulation or the precedent would be for that.

“The purpose of letting lap cars out of the way… it was brought in to stop them interfering in the main race at any phrase of the Grand Prix.

“Was it done fairly? I believe the lapped teams were pushing for information, Michael Masi didn’t want to let them through while there was a breakdown truck and marshals on the track.”

As Hamilton was leading the race, he will be crowned champion if the final lap is cancelled.

The picture of Verstappen and Schumacher reminds of a comparison between the two racers made by a former F1 driver before Sunday’s finale.

Hamilton’s one-time grid colleague Anthony Davidson said Verstappen can’t afford to do anything which would see him become the sport’s villain.

He claimed: “I think we’ve seen how desperate both drivers are to win.

“Lewis has the experience, been there and done things I’m sure he regrets now but he has that in his armoury.

“It’s more for Max’s sake he doesn’t do something that will tarnish his reputation and something that he may internally regret for the rest of his career.

“Michael Schumacher would sail quite close to the edge sometimes in the tricks that he played in the car and that divides opinion quite a lot. He was masterful but it came at a price to his reputation.

“Both drivers need to defend hard, race hard, take it right to the edge, to the limit, and do everything they can to finish ahead – but hopefully without raising an eyebrow.”

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