Max Verstappen has revealed that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff sent him a congratulatory text message following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after the Dutchman became F1 World Champion.
Wolff was positively seething after race director Michael Masi allowed only the five cars between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap themselves, refusing to speak to media after the race.
He also protested Masi’s decision-making, but these attempts failed, prompting a further Mercedes appeal.
Verstappen has however revealed that Wolff displayed his sporting side once he had calmed down and congratulated the 24-year-old.
“Toto sent me a text [saying] congratulations on the season, I deserved to win it. That was nice of him of course, emotions ran very high through that last lap from both sides of both teams,” Verstappen told Sky Sports.
Verstappen believes that the fact that Hamilton has already won seven world titles softens the blow of losing the championship.
“Of course it helps that you also have seven titles, I think that comforts him a bit, I think if it was the other way around, it would have been more painful for me, because I didn’t have one!”
The Dutchman was also full of praise for the “great sportsman” Hamilton, who congratulated him despite the obvious pain that comes with missing out on an F1 crown by such a fine margin.
“Lewis has been a great sportsman in general. He came up to me, congratulated me and it must have been very tough in that last lap. It also shows the respect we had for each other, in general.”
Furthermore, despite Verstappen’s frequent polemic clashes with Hamilton throughout 2021, he maintains that there is still mutual respect between them.
“Of course we had our tough times through the season but in the end we were respectful of what we were doing and we were pushing each other to the limit the whole season. It has been really enjoyable racing against him.”
Verstappen has also confirmed that he will race with the Number 1 on his car next year, and will officially be crowned champion at the FIA’s prize-giving gala in Paris on 16 December. However, Mercedes have lodged their intention to officially appeal the result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.