uae leaders, ivanka trump, usain bolt and other famous names at abu dhabi gp - in pictures
© Provided by The National MBR and MBZ watch the final round of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit. Photo: Dubai Media Office

The 2021 Formula One season witnessed one of the most specular, albeit controversial, finishes as Max Verstappen clinched the world title at the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

Red Bull driver Verstappen trailed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton for most of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit. But a fortuitous crash by Nicholas Latifi with five laps to go brought out the safety car and the championship battle took a new turn as race director Michael Masi decided to let all lapped cars pass before resuming racing.

That allowed Verstappen, who was on fresher and faster tyres after a strategic pit stop, chase down Hamilton to win the race and the driver’s championship.

“It’s unbelievable,” said the 24-year-old Verstappen. “Throughout the whole race I kept fighting then there was the opportunity in the last lap, it’s incredible.

“I don’t know what to say. My team and Honda deserve it.”

The stars have been out in force at Abu Dhabi this weekend 📸🤩#AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 #F1 pic.twitter.com/3O53qpltFf

— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021

Verstappen also thanked his teammate Sergio Perez, who played a key part in the win, and his Red Bull team.

“Finally a bit of luck for me. I also want to say thank you to Checo [Perez], he’s been a brilliant teammate.

“My team know I love them. I hope we can do this for 10, 15 years together. I don’t want to change ever. I want to stay with them for the rest of my life, if they will have me.”

The enthralling race was witnessed by a number of famous names. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, were at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Also present were former US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, sprint great Usain Bolt, West Indies cricket icon Chris Gayle, and actor Gerard Butler, among others.

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