‘I thought he could die’: Verstappen worried for his father’s health after defeating Hamilton

Max Verstappen claimed his maiden F1 world championship in dramatic fashion on the final lap of last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen has revealed the concern he felt for his father Jos following his dramatic championship victory last year.

Jos stood on the podium twice in his own Formula 1 career that spanned eight seasons and took him to teams such as Benetton, Arrows and Minardi.

From the ashes of the latter came Toro Rosso, the team with whom Verstappen began his journey in the pinnacle of motorsport, and Jos has been vicariously experiencing his son’s highs and lows ever since.

He has now watched the 24-year-old claim 20 race wins since his arrival to Red Bull, and he took victory on his debut for the Milton Keynes side at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

The Dutchman took 10 of his 20 grand prix victories last season while securing an astonishing 18 podiums, failing to finishing outside the top two on just four occasions.

However, Sir Lewis Hamilton took eight wins of his own and, following a season filled with collisions, controversies and heated debates between Mercedes and Red Bull, the pair headed into the final round at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on points.

2021 Champion Max Verstappen.v1

Hamilton was leading much of the race having overtaken his rival off the line, and he looked set to record his 104th career win to claim his record eighth world title.

However, a late Safety Car caused by a Nicholas Latifi crash put Verstappen back in with a shout and, after a highly controversial restart from race director Michael Masi, the 24-year-old passed the seven-time champion on the very last lap of the race to snatch his maiden championship.

He could then be seen sharing an emotional moment with his father, and the pressure and stress of the whole situation had clearly become a little much for the 49-year-old.

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“I thought he could die because it looked like he was about to have a heart attack,” Verstappen told The Guardian.

“He was so pale, it was incredible. His skin colour was definitely not healthy.”

Verstappen was then asked what was said when he went and saw his dad for the first time as a world champion

“Like: ‘We did it!’” he replied.

Jos is set to try his hand at the Belgium Rally Championship this year, while Max will sport the number one on his car as the reigning world champion in F1.