‘People will look back on it in 20 years’ – Verstappen & Hamilton reflect on historic battle ahead of title decider
Everything comes down to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Prix, where polesitter Max Verstappen and front-row starter Lewis Hamilton will race to decide who is the 2021 Formula 1 champion. Before they faced off, the pair gave their thoughts on the longest season in F1 history and one of the closest, most exciting drivers’ championship battles ever witnessed.
Verstappen took pole position ahead of Hamilton in a scintillating qualifying display at Yas Marina on Saturday. Such a spectacle is now standard practice for the pair, who have provided us with epic wheel-to-wheel action throughout a memorable season.
Looking back on the year leading up to the Abu Dhabi GP, Verstappen said this has been a championship for the ages – and explained how exciting it has been to face-off against a driver of Hamilton’s calibre.
“I think Lewis has won already so many championships but also, you know, this year, I think we have been pushing each other certainly in some races to the limit. We’ve been really trying to get [the maximum] out of our cars, tyres, to the last lap, to the last corner and that’s very exciting, especially when it’s between two teams, as well.
“When it’s team mates it’s always a bit different, but when there are two teams fighting you have different strategies you don’t know about. It has been really enjoyable for most of the time. But that’s normal in a championship.
“But of course, you know, probably in 10, 20 years’ time people will look back at it – even myself – and we will remember this year, for sure,” concluded the Dutchman, who today aims to win his first World Championship.
Hamilton, who today hunts for a record eighth World Championship, said he agreed “fully” with his rival before remarking that the Dutchman had pushed him and Mercedes to new levels.
“Yes, I mean, well said,” responded Hamilton. “I think I agree fully. It’s been an incredible year, an amazing battle, and I’m grateful I’ve had such a close battle with Max and his team.
“I think they’ve done an exceptional job, and shown true strength, and so it’s pushed us to the limit and in ways that we needed. And we, I think, have grown stronger as a team in ways we didn’t know that we could grow – and yes, it’s been amazing.
“I hope that we have many more seasons like this,” added the seven-time champion.
The action begins at 1300 local time in Abu Dhabi where, one way or another, history will be made.