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'Verstappen will always fight, that's in his DNA'

December 13, 2021 00:18 IST
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Race winner and 2021 F1 World Drivers Champion, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen celebrates with his father Jos Verstappen in parc ferme during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

IMAGE: Race winner and 2021 F1 World Drivers Champion, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen celebrates with his father Jos Verstappen in parc ferme during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max Verstappen's proud father Jos highlighted his son's fighting spirit as the Red Bull driver ended Lewis Hamilton's reign as Formula One champion and took his first title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The former F1 racer also revealed he had walked away at one point in a race of changing fortunes when it looked like the dream was over.

 

"Because of the safety car we are in this position but still you have to do it," Jos told Sky Sports television after his son overtook Hamilton on the last lap of a dramatic and controversial race.

"I think the team had a good strategy on that as well, they called him in. They are doing a lot of things very good and I think Max was the driver this year and he really deserved this championship.

"He kept fighting. He will always fight. That's in his DNA, I guess... he said to me 'every lap I was flat out' and he was driving to the maximum. And then he had one chance, one lap and that's what he took."

Verstappen had started the race level on points with Hamilton but 9-8 ahead on wins, and there were fears a collision could settle the outcome.

They came close to contact but stayed apart, Hamilton leading but Verstappen brought back into play by strategic pitstops and the safety car just when his hopes appeared to be over.

"During the race I walked away because I didn't believe it any more. But I came back the last lap," said Jos, a team mate of future seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher at Benetton in 1994.

He also drove for Benetton, Simtek, Arrows, Tyrrell, Stewart and Minardi before retiring in 2003.

 

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Source: REUTERS
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