Max Verstappen formally hailed as F1’s 2021 world champion at FIA Gala

The Red Bull driver officially becomes Formula 1’s 34th world champion with trophy presentation at the FIA’s end-of-season Gala in Paris; Max on Lewis Hamilton’s future: “I don’t see any reason why to give up or stop now”.

Four days after winning a dramatic Abu Dhabi GP and his maiden title, Verstappen, 24, got his hands on the Drivers’ Championship trophy he has long dreamed of in Paris on Thursday night.

“Becoming world champion is my life goal achieved. Everything that comes next is a bonus,” said Verstappen, F1’s 34th and fourth-youngest world champion.

“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.”

Neither Hamilton nor Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff were in attendance.

The event took place hours after Mercedes withdrew their appeal of the race conclusion last weekend, although Wolff said they remain “disillusioned” and that it will “take a long time to digest” what happened.

Mercedes, who still claimed a record-extending eighth constructors’ title on Sunday, also did not send their championship winning F1 and Formula E cars to Paris, and were represented by technical chief James Allison.

“I won’t be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity,” explained Wolff earlier on Thursday.