Wolff told Max he ‘deserved’ the title in post-race text

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen celebrates his title win. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, celebrates winning the title as he is held aloft in Abu Dhabi. December 2021.

Max Verstappen has said Toto Wolff messaged him after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to congratulate him on a deserved first title.

The 2021 season goes down in the Formula 1 history books as one of the greatest ever witnessed, perhaps even the best of all time, and the drama that unfolded in Abu Dhabi was in some ways a typical finish to such a gripping campaign.

Hamilton was leading and seemingly on his way to victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a victory that would have secured him an eighth World Championship.

The whole situation changed though in the closing stages when Nicholas Latifi crashed out, following his battle with Mick Schumacher’s Haas.

That triggered an appearance from the Safety Car, prompting Red Bull to pit Verstappen for soft tyres, while Mercedes kept Hamilton out on his worn hards, unwilling to give up track position.

For a time it was uncertain whether or not racing would resume, but race director Michael Masi unleashed the cars for one last epic lap – but it was controversial.

That is because only the lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton were allowed to overtake, which meant that for the last lap Hamilton was completely exposed to Verstappen on superior tyres, who made the overtake and snatched the World Championship.

On that final lap, tempers flared between Wolff and Masi over the radio, with Wolff demanding Masi reversed his decision and reinstated Hamilton as the winner.

Here was their exchange in full:

Masi: “Go ahead, Toto.”

Wolff: “You need to reinstate that lap before, that’s not right.”

Masi: “Toto…it’s called a motor race, okay?”

Wolff: “Sorry?”

Masi: “We went car racing.”

Of course, Wolff did not get his way and Verstappen was crowned World Champion.

Understandably, Wolff was reluctant to speak to the media after the race, but Verstappen revealed in an interview with Sky F1 that the Mercedes boss had sent him a congratulatory text.

Not only did the Austrian pass on his congratulations but according to Verstappen, he told him he deserved to win the title.


“Toto sent me a text, congratulations on the season and that I deserve to win it,” said Verstappen.

“So that was very nice of him, of course. Emotions run very high through that last lap, from both sides, from both teams, so it is what it is.”


Formula 1 controversy like no other

The call made at the end will be talked about until the end of time.