WATCH: Max Verstappen Stuck in Awkward Moment During FIA Awards

Published 12/17/2021, 6:48 AM EST


The FIA gala was a night of celebration, accolades, and legacy. A night where the best from the world of motorsports were rewarded for their efforts. This included the karting championship as well. Newly crowned F1 champion Max Verstappen was called to the stage to crown the karting champ Kean Nakamura. However, one awkward moment followed the next.

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As Verstappen came onto the stage to present the trophy, he wasn’t sure who he had to give the award to. “Who am I here presenting it to?” He went on to double-check with the young driver before giving him the trophy.

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However, it didn’t end there. Upon receiving the trophy, Nakamura was asked to name his inspiration when growing up. His reply brought out a scattered response from the audience. “I grew up watching Lewis [Hamilton] drive; Sebastian [Vettel] racing together.” As the camera zoomed in on Verstappen, the Dutchman couldn’t help but get away with a small grin.

Regardless, after explaining his love for F1, Nakamura settled on who his idol was. “My motorsport idol was actually Ayrton Senna. He changed a lot in F1 and I look up to how he renovated our sport.”

Max Verstappen gets his hands on his trophy

After a video reflecting on the trials of the season, Verstappen once again made his way to the stage; this time, to be crowned the 2021 World Champion. FIA president Jean Todt did the honors, and as Verstappen held his trophy, the moment was his.

Verstappen’s speech was nothing short of pride and emotion. “Becoming world champion is my life goal achieved. Everything that comes next is a bonus. Of course I am going to keep pushing and I’m going to be in F1 for a few more years yet.”

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He explained the journey to this part of his career; one he wouldn’t be able to achieve without his father. “While it’s nice to be called world champion, I think more about the long journey and the all the hours I have spent working with my Dad to be here. It’s been a long and tough season and I feel amazing to have finally achieved my goal. I hope I can do this many more times.”

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the world championship REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

However, it wouldn’t be the championship fight it was without Lewis Hamilton“It’s been an incredible battle with Lewis, one of the greatest drivers ever in Formula 1. We really pushed each other. At the end of the day, we can look each other in the eyes and respect each other, which is really important.”

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Now, as Verstappen gets ready for the season ahead, we can once again witness the two titans of the sport come together in battle.

Watch this story: Love Is in the Paddock: F1 Fraternity Rings in Valentine’s Day

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Shreya Sanjeev

779 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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