This season had been heralded as one of many biggest within the sport’s historical past and the title race went right down to one of the vital “insane” last laps attainable.
Hamilton had all however gained his record-breaking eighth world title till Williams Racing driver Nicholas Latifi crashed into the limitations with 4 laps remaining, ensuing within the security automotive being known as out.
It meant the race restarted on the ultimate lap, with Verstappen allowed to start out virtually side-by-side Hamilton, regardless of the Brit having established a wholesome lead.
The Dutchman, on new tires, had the tempo to overhaul his rival and win one of the vital dramatic F1 races ever.
“It is insane. I do not know what to say. I am so happy for the staff and for all these guys. I really like working with them a lot,” an emotional and barely shocked Verstappen, 24, mentioned after the race.
“Lastly, at the moment, I had a little bit of luck. My staff know I really like them and I need to do that with them for the subsequent 10 or 15 years!”
The victory means Verstappen prevented Hamilton from surpassing the report he nonetheless shares with racing legend Michael Schumacher.
Mercedes confirmed it had lodged two protests referring to the tip of the race, however each have been rejected by officers in a while Sunday.
The staff then lodged an intention to enchantment towards the choice referring to restarting the race for the final lap.
A race like no different
The 2 titanic rivals arrived on the Yas Marina Circuit stage on factors, organising the proper finish to a title race which got here right down to the very last moments.
However it was Hamilton who began the race higher from second, overtaking Verstappen earlier than the primary nook and dominating nearly all of the Grand Prix with the Mercedes tempo.
There was controversy, as there was all through the season, with Purple Bull adamant that Hamilton ought to have given his first place again to Verstappen after the Mercedes man went off the monitor following contact along with his rival.
Stewards, nevertheless, determined to not examine the incident and allowed Hamilton to proceed in first.
Purple Bull then resorted to its Plan B, with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez expertly holding up Hamilton after the Mercedes driver emerged from the pit lane in second.
The Brit lastly discovered a well beyond the Purple Bull however not till he had Verstappen again on his heels.
However Hamilton appeared to have carried out sufficient, increase a double-digit second lead, and was cruising to victory earlier than the mayhem of the ultimate lap.
With the win, Verstappen completed the season on 395.5 factors, whereas Hamilton completed second on 387.5.
Mercedes staff principal Toto Wolff was left visibly livid after stewards allowed the race to complete with such drama, however Hamilton was sporting in defeat.
“Firstly, congratulations to Max and his staff. I feel we did a tremendous job this yr. The staff, everybody again on the manufacturing facility, all of the women and men we now have, labored so laborious all yr in a tough season,” he mentioned after the race.
“I’m so pleased with them, and so grateful to be a part of the journey with them. We gave it every thing this final a part of the season and by no means gave up, that is a very powerful factor.
“After all, I’ve felt nice within the automotive this previous couple of months, notably on the finish. I hope everybody stays protected within the pandemic and has good Christmas throughout this time and we’ll see about subsequent yr.”
In the meantime, amid the controversy, Mercedes claimed an eighth consecutive constructors’ championship however that might be little comfort to these concerned.