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What they said: Reactions to Verstappen, new world champion

motorsport12 December 2021 19:53| © AFP
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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen © Getty Images

Max Verstappen edged out Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday to win the 2021 Formula One world championship.

It was a controversial last lap that led to a double appeal from Hamilton's Mercedes team.

Here are some of the reactions from the pitlane and beyond:

"The sport needed a new world champion and I think it was well done in the end, Max Verstappen has driven very well the whole season."

- Jackie Stewart, three-time former world champion

"What a showdown! I love champions, records and stories that make my heart beat 300 beats a minute Congratulations World Champion @Max33Verstappen. And to @LewisHamilton for an epic season and a story that surely continues."

- Mario Andretti, 1978 F1 world champion

"It's going to be commented in terms of rule about safety car. I can understand they (Mercedes) are not going to be happy about that. It was exceptional for the show. Always going to be controversial. I try to feel the happiness for Max and the sadness for Lewis."

- Alain Prost, four-time world champion

"A lot of not very happy people. And a lot of very happy people. This is a new way of running the sport where the Race Director can make these ad hoc decisions. It's been a bit too 'guess what I'm going to do now', I think."

- Damon Hill, 1996 world champion

"Hats off to Max... big congrats & respect!!! Also an awesome performance by Lewis... it's been an epic F1 season!"

- Nico Rosberg, 2016 world champion and former Mercedes teammate of Hamilton

"Both (Lewis & Max) deserved it. Obviously I don't know what exactly happened at the end, but congratulations to both of them."

- Sebastian Vettel, four-time world champion

"We wanted to get both titles. It hurts that Lewis didn’t get the drivers'."

- Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's Mercedes teammate

"Max is an absolutely fantastic driver who has had an incredible season and I have nothing but huge respect for him, but what just happened is absolutely unacceptable. I cannot believe what we've just seen."

- George Russell, Williams driver

"For it to end like that, I'm not so sure."

- Lando Norris, McLaren driver

"WHAT A BOSS! @Max33Verstappen"

- Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool and Netherlands footballer

"Wow. What an incredible ending of a Formule 1 season to remember forever! Two fantastic teams going all in for the win but there can only be one winner. A true champion replaced by another true champion. Congrats to @Max33Verstappen. You made us proud."

- Former Netherlands striker Robin Van Persie

"What a race! Congrats to Max for becoming the World Champion for the 1st time & there will be many more.However, my heart goes out to Lewis. What a season he's had too. If not for the safety car, the trophy would've been his. Sheer bad luck. All the best for the next season."

- Former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar

"1 ball 6 required and guess what, Max Verstappen hits it. Unbelievable win."

- India cricketer Rohit Sharma

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