Jos: Red Bull were worried, but not Max

Henry Valantine
Jos and Max Verstappen embrace. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Jos and Max Verstappen celebrate together prior to the podium ceremony. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Max Verstappen held no worries heading into the final lap in Abu Dhabi despite Red Bull’s concerns, said father Jos.

The last-lap dash to the line between the World Championship rivals saw the Red Bull driver pass Lewis Hamilton at Turn 5, before weaving to try and break the slipstream of the Mercedes and hold onto the lead.

Hamilton got a run on the outside of Verstappen the younger, but he was able to hold onto the lead and take his first World Championship in dramatic circumstances.

Mercedes’ protests were dismissed by the FIA and the team dropped their intention to appeal the result of the race, but former Formula 1 driver Jos spoke after the race about how he felt about seeing his son take the chequered flag at the weekend.

Max Verstappen after winning the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.
Max Verstappen holding his trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

“I’m very proud of course, happy,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.

“Of course because of the Safety Car we are in this situation, but still, you have to do it, I think the team had a good strategy on that as well, they called him in.

“They’re doing a lot of things very good and I think Max was the driver this year and he really deserved this Championship.”

Father and son embraced and spoke to each other in parc ferme as the achievement began to sink in before Max headed onto the podium, and Jos admitted that the Red Bull team members were worried about how Hamilton would fight back – but he was able to keep himself in front to the line.

“I think the whole team was worried because we know their speed, but still he kept fighting, he will always fight, that’s in his DNA I guess,” he said.

“And that’s what he has done, he said ‘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.”

 

Such were Jos’ own nerves, however, he admitted that he felt the race had gone away from his son, and he said he could not bear to look until it was possible for Max to become World Champion again.

“Well during the race I walked away because I didn’t believe it anymore, but I came back the last lap,” he said.

Max picked up the Drivers’ Championship trophy in Paris on Thursday night, at the FIA’s annual prize-giving ceremony.

 

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