Who is Max Verstappen, the new Formula 1 world champion

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He had never seen himself in the final like this and Formula One, accused of being boring, deserved it. A victory with overtaking on the last lap in a race in which Max Verstappen e Lewis Hamilton they started on equal points and had to fight for the title. It ended with tears for all, winner and loser. Max Verstappen is the winner of the Abu Dhabi GP and is world champion for the first time. Lewis Hamilton is second, overtaken on the last lap after leading the race even if the Dutchman starts from pole position. The key to the race was the safety car with five laps to go due to Latifi’s accident. Verstappen returned to the pits, changed the tires and, thanks to them, got the better of the British on the last lap.

«It’s unbelievable, I’ve been trying for the whole race. It’s crazy, I don’t know what to say. Everyone deserves it. It was amazing. Finally a bit of luck for me, I want to thank Perez who helped me »said in tears the Dutchman who has always been considered a man of ice and not very fair play. Instead there was a hug with Hamilton: «Congratulations to Max Verstappen and his team, we did a fantastic job and I’m happy to have given everything in this final part of the season. But it was not enough and for a little while. I felt great, let’s see what happens next year: it was an incredible journey anyway ».

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Max Verstappen, 24, Dutch from Red Bull, is a predestined man whose impetuous character has held back a career that, based solely on the skills of the driver, would have been smoothed out. His father Jos was an F1 driver between 1994 and 2003 also driving Benetton and Minardi: «Compared to Max, however, I was nobody». His mother is Sophie Kumpen from Belgium who raced as a kart driver. Little Max was unlikely to get into the car for the whole process, from the karts up.

In Formula 1 he arrived at 17 with acne, roughness and impetuosity and not without controversy. How could you put a 900 horsepower car in the hands of someone who couldn’t have a driving license? But it was impossible for him to dream of another career. He also said it from the stage in Abu Dhabi: «Becoming a pilot was my childhood dream». He did not look anyone in the face, always attacking, often on the edge of regulation, sometimes beyond, without any awe.

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«I have no idols, the only reference figure is my father. I’m here to win, I’m not interested in looking like others ». He skipped many lower categories, school was not important. Only the cars and the track at the Verstappen house counted. Choices pay off. He wins his first F1 race at 18 years, 7 months and 15 days, an absolute record. He has a cheering following him, all orange, like Valentino Rossi’s yellow one.

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