Abu Dhabi: Max Verstappen became the first Dutchman ever to win the Formula One world championship title when he won a dramatic season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday.
The Red Bull driver won his 10th race of the season to finish ahead of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.
There was late drama when Hamilton looked set to cruise past Michael Schumacher's record of seven titles in a race he controlled until Nicholas Latifi crashed with five laps remaining. F1 sent out the safety car for a clean-up and resumed the race with one lap remaining.
Hamilton and Verstappen started side-by-side for one final trip around the Yas and the British driver surged to the lead. Verstappen stalked him through the first four turns then made his pass in turn five and pulled away in his Red Bull.
``Oh my God!'' Verstappen screamed over his radio. `You are the world champion! The world champion!'' screamed back Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
``Let's do this for another 10 or 15 years!'' Verstappen replied.
Red Bull won its first F1 title since 2013" Mercedes had won every championship since.
Multiple rival drivers headed to the grid to congratulate Verstappen as Hamilton sat motionless inside his Mercedes. The defeat ended his reign of four consecutive titles and denied Hamilton a chance to pass Schumacher as best all-time in F1.
''Congratulations to Max and to his team, I think he did an amazing job this year,'' Hamilton said to close what had become a bitter rivalry this season between Mercedes and Red Bull.
- With inputs from AP