(Motorsport) Max Verstappen was officially crowned Formula 1’s 34th world champion after receiving his trophy at the FIA’s prize giving ceremony in Paris on Thursday night. The 24 year old became the fourth youngest world champion in the history of the sport and received his maiden title in an event which was not attended by either Lewis Hamilton or Toto Wolff.
Speaking at the ceremony, Verstappen said “Becoming world champion is my life goal achieved. Everything that comes next is a bonus. Of course I am going to keep pushing and I'm going to be in F1 for a few more years yet. While it's nice to be called world champion, I think more about the long journey and all the hours I have spent working with my Dad to be here. It's been a long and tough season and I feel amazing to have finally achieved my goal. I hope I can do this many more times. It's been an incredible battle with Lewis, one of the greatest drivers ever in Formula 1. We really pushed each other. At the end of the day, we can look each other in the eyes and respect each other which is really important."
Earlier in the day, Mercedes had withdrawn their appeal of the events that took place at the Abu Dhabi GP and the Silver Arrows collected their record eighth Constructors Championship after finishing 28 points above Red Bull with a total of 613.5 points. Toto Wolff earlier on the day of the ceremony had already ruled out his presence by saying “I won't be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity” while Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate for the 2021 season Valtteri Bottas was in attendance as the Finnish driver finished third in the standings.
There is a possibility Hamilton may face consequences for missing the ceremony as Article 6.6 of the F1 Sporting Regulations states that "the drivers finishing first, second and third in the Championship must be present at the annual FIA Prize Giving ceremony". Wolff had also said on Thursday that both him and Hamilton felt “disillusioned” following the events at the Abu Dhabi GP and said that there is no guarantee that the seven time World Champion would return to Formula 1 next year.
When Verstappen was asked to comment on it at the FIA Gala, the Dutchman said “I can understand that the first few days after a race like that you're not happy but you should also understand this is racing. I think he should just look back at what he has achieved already. That should give him a lot of comfort and should also be that drive to just keep on going because he is still trying to challenge for that eighth title and for sure he can do that again next year. So I don't see any reason why to give up or stop now."