After months of close calls, competitive racing, and pure adrenaline…it’s been decided. The winner of the 2021 FIA Formula One™ World Constructors’ Championship is the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team and the winner of the 2021 FIA Formula One™ World Drivers’ Championship is Max Verstappen*. And what a final race!
Verstappen Versus Hamilton: The Final Showdown
If you watched the season finale on the Yas Marina Circuit, you saw Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen race for their careers and the coveted F1 title. Starting off on equal points, the race could have gone in either direction, with fans and drivers speculating right until the end.
Hamilton was in the lead for 51 of the 58 racing laps and was set to break records with an eighth world title for most of the race, while Verstappen looked like he was going to take second. The controversial finish started when Williams driver Nicholas Latifi slid off the track and hit a wall on the closing lap, leading to a safety car. When the safety car gave Verstappen the chance to pit for fresh soft tires, Red Bull made the call to pit for its last chance at winning. With Hamilton on old hard tires from lap 14, not pitting to give up the lead, Verstappen scored his victory on the final lap of the final race.
A Season to Remember
Verstappen was declared champion—but only after both teams spent hours in the steward’s box debating the safety car results, which were eventually dismissed by officials. Verstappen became the first Dutch world champion, F1’s first non-Mercedes title winner in the hybrid turbo era, and he gave Honda its first championship since Ayrton Senna won in 1991. Verstappen also broke the record for the most podium finishes in a single season: 18.
Listen to what Verstappen has to say about his own championship in this interview with F1.
While Hamilton may have lost the 2021 FIA Formula One™ World Drivers’ Championship, his expert driving along with Valtteri Bottas’ solid performance placed the Mercedes team at number one for its eighth consecutive FIA Formula One™ World Constructors’ Championship. 2021 represents the conclusion of a remarkable eight-year era of Formula One since the introduction of hybrid power units in 2014, and Mercedes has now won all eight championships in this period—a 100 percent record. That is a true commitment to excellence and showcases the power of the Mercedes strategy combined with amazing performances by Hamilton and Bottas.
With the season over, Mercedes says goodbye to Valterri Bottas and hello to George Russell. After five years with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team, Bottas will be driving with Alfa Romeo in 2022 as Kimi Raikkonen retires and Antonio Giovinazzi leaves F1 to compete in Formula E.
Bottas stated, “It’s a completely new chapter in my career. For sure, there’s a lot of work to do with a new team, but I feel like it’s the right time now to change and have something new and a new project to work on. And what is exciting is that the future is completely open, and you never know what lies ahead.”
Russell stated, “I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my teammates and friends at Williams. It has been an honor working alongside every member of the team, and an honor to represent the Williams name in F1.”
See You Next Season
Next season is sure to be another close call with new driver lineups, new chassis rules, and new liveries. The rivalry and master driving of both Hamilton and Verstappen, leading up to a shocking end, will surely be talked of for years to come—and make next season all the more thrilling.Since the introduction of hybrid power units in 2014, Mercedes has won all eight championships in this period—a 100 percent record. Click To Tweet
Want to learn more about how the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team uses data to drive success? Check out this case study on how Mercedes manages costs and this case study on simulation strategy in F1.
*Subject to official confirmation by the FIA of the results of the 2021 FIA Formula One™ World Championship