Max: Repeat of 2021 intensity could shorten F1 career

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen holds the trophy aloft. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Max Verstappen lifts the race winner's trophy aloft after the race. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Max Verstappen doesn’t think “you can last a long time in F1 like that” if the all-consuming drama and intensity of 2021 is repeated in future.

The World Championship fight was eventually decided on the final lap of the season, after a battle between the Red Bull driver and Lewis Hamilton that saw the pair finish first and second 14 times through the year.

Both drivers held the lead in the standings at different times and headed into Abu Dhabi level on points, before Verstappen’s last-lap pass on the seven-time World Champion brought him his first title.

But the Red Bull driver admitted that, while he is not planning on retiring early in the same vein as Nico Rosberg, he thinks that repeats of the constant battles between him and Hamilton in years to come would eventually become too much.

Jos Verstappen with his emotional son Max Verstappen. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.
Jos Verstappen with his emotional son Max Verstappen after he has won the title. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

“I don’t need to improve on this,” the World Champion said in an interview with CarNext when asked about his wheel-to-wheel combat with Hamilton over the course of the year.

“For me, it doesn’t need to be like this every single year, I don’t think you can last a long time in F1 like that.

“I am happy with how it played out but it was an amazing season, I think.

“A lot of unpredictable things happened, of course, the two teams fighting against each other, that is always more exciting than when it is just one team dominating and it is just the two team-mates basically fighting.”

Father Jos watched on from the sidelines as his son became World Champion for the first time in Abu Dhabi, and had admitted previously that he couldn’t bear to watch the race while the title was in Hamilton’s hands.

Both he and Max shared an embrace and conversation once the race was ended, and both were congratulated by Anthony Hamilton before the podium ceremony.

Having experienced the fight as a parent of one of the protagonists, Jos agreed that the momentum changes this season added up to making the fight even more “intense”.


“It’s incredible,” he said. “But also with all the emotions there for the whole year – going really well, then bad luck, all the things happen, that made it so much more intense.

“It was so much. You want to win this last race and to win the championship, and that came all together.”


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