Max Verstappen has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to secure a first ever Formula One Drivers Championship.
Verstappen and title rival Hamilton came into the season's final race level on points after one of the most dramatic campaigns in recent memory.
Red Bull's Verstappen started from pole position with Mercedes driver Hamilton second .
Hamilton led from the off after overtaking the Dutchman and it all looked straightforward for him as he continued to lead until the final lap.
The contest in fact was relatively uneventful until lap 58 of 58 as the safety car was sent in with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen side by side.
It all came down to a one lap race to the finish as the pack was bunched in and Lewis Hamilton led with Max Verstappen right on his tail with the better tyres.
24-year-old Verstappen held his nerve to beat Hamilton, who was chasing a historic eighth title, and as fireworks exploded around the circuit he screamed through the radio as he won what you'd imagine will be the first of many world titles.
The first #F1 World Champion from the Netherlands 👑🦁 #SimplyLovely pic.twitter.com/gHkSTatqY3
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) December 12, 2021
The late safety car will be seen as a controversial call by many but speaking to Sky Sports, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt the right decision was made.
"We were screaming at the end to let them race. A great strategy call to make that pit stop and take softs and then it was down to Max to make it happen.
"It is unheard of to leave the cars unlapped. They wanted to get the race going again. They absolutely made the right call.
"I am so proud of Max Verstappen and of the team for what we have been through this year.
"You just knew Max was not going to give it up. He had come so far this year and then to see him close it out, become world champion - an amazing feeling.
"The last 10 laps I was thinking what will I say to Max and the guys to pick them up and then a stroke of luck with the safety car."
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