What Max Verstappen told himself before snatching title from Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

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Max Verstappen says he told himself he was going to “drive to the limit” ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi – where he successfully ousted Lewis Hamilton in controversial circumstances to snatch the world championship. The Dutchman claimed his maiden title in arguably the most dramatic F1 season since its inception with all eyes firmly set on Yas Marina heading into the final race of the campaign.

The stakes had never been higher for both drivers but Verstappen knew he had to execute the drive of his life in order to prevail in the battle for supremacy.

During the race, Verstappen took it upon himself to decide this really was do-or-die time as he upped the ante in pursuit of Hamilton.

“It was very tough out there, we tried everything as a team,” Verstappen declared, in a new interview with Sky Sports.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m just going to do everything I can here, I’m going to drive to the limit. I’m going to give it all, I’m not going to make it look easy.”

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Verstappen was true to himself throughout the entirety of the season by “driving to the limit”, just as he did in Saudi Arabia when he collided with Hamilton.

While the bitter rivalry has threatened to boil over at points this season, Verstappen has praised the healthy competition, claiming it can only be good for the sport.

“I think it’s great for the sport, I had a great fight the whole season,” Verstappen added.

“Of course we came together but we respect one another.

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“We push each other to the limit every single race.

“But also pushing each other to the limit but also the team, they always have to be perfect or at least try to be perfect.

“That brings a lot of pressure and stress for everyone and I think that’s quite extraordinary.

“To have a season like this was pretty intense.”

While Hamilton will have naturally been frustrated with the conclusion of the race, he issued a typically classy tribute to Verstappen after he stole in to win the title.

“A big congratulations to Max and to his team,” Hamilton said.

“We did an amazing job this year. It’s been the most difficult of seasons, we gave it everything, this last part of the season, we never gave up and that’s the most important thing.”

Mercedes saw two protests waved away by the stewards immediately after the race before confirming their desire to appeal.

The Black Arrows could yet withdraw their appeal, they have until Thursday to prevent evidence to the FIA.

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