Max Verstappen Explains to His Father the Thinking Behind the Risky Pass on Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

Published 12/19/2021, 3:54 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after qualifying in pole position Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili


The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was certainly one of the most dramatic and thrilling F1 races in a long time. The championship was at stake and the two title rivals went all out for the win. However, a stroke of luck went in favor of Max Verstappen towards the end and he made the most of it.

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The race was disarrayed after the Williams of Nicholas Latifi found the barriers at turn 14 and a safety car came into play. When the race did start, the Red Bull star was on new soft rubbers while Hamilton, who was on a 1 pit-stop strategy, had to defend his ground on worn-out hard rubbers. The outcome was almost a foregone conclusion at that stage.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crosses the line to win the race and the world championship Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Max Verstappen quickly made a pass at Hamilton

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The Dutchman had the tire advantage, and it was highly likely for him to make a pass on Hamilton down the straights. However, that was not the case. He went close around the inside at turn 5 under braking and passed Hamilton. Although the British star tried to reclaim his ground, he could not do so.

In a recent talk with CarNext, Verstappen senior asked his son about that move.“Why there? Why there? Because then you have two straights after that. So I was thinking he was lining him up to pass at the end of the straight but then it happened there. I think a lot of people were surprised,” said Jos Verstappen as reported by GP fans.

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However, the Red Bull prodigy says he made a well-thought-out move. He believes that there is always an option of defending when you are ahead on the straights. He wanted to be fully in control before reaching the straights.

“But I knew I had better top speed, so as soon as I was ahead I knew that I could control the defense because when you are behind, he can always close the door and you’re not fully in control,” said the Dutchman as reported by GP fans.

“So I needed to send it there and then I was in control.” 

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The championship has concluded and Verstappen received his well-deserved world title this Thursday at the FIA prize-giving gala. Meanwhile, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are not at all happy with the FIA. F1 fans are hoping that the dust settles soon and the teams move on to the upcoming 2022 season. What are your predictions for the next season?

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Rituraj Tripathi

268 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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