The 2021 Formula 1 season finished in an absolutely wild manner. Lewis Hamilton looked like he would cruise to victory and set the record for career points titles, but a Nicholas Latifi wreck on Hamilton’s lap 54 led to a shocking result. A restart on the final lap set up Max Verstappen on fresher tires put him in position to overtake Hamilton. He benefited from some questionable rules decisions, but either way he is the world champion.
Hamilton was racing to secure a record-setting eighth points title. Instead, he remains tied with legendary driver Michael Schumacher for most career titles. Schumacher won his first title and his last title in 2004. He finished second in 1998 and 2006 and in third in 1996 and 2005.
Hamilton finished second in his first season in F1 and won his first title in 2008. He then finished fourth or fifth across five straight seasons. Starting in 2014, he has claimed the title in six of the seven seasons with a second place finish in 2016.
This season, Hamilton won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and three of the first four races. Verstappen took the points lead with wins in France and two in Austria. Verstappen held the lead in early November coming off back-to-back wins in the US and Mexican Grand Prix races.
However, things went south from there. Hamilton had an impressive performance at qualifying and on race day to win the Brazilian Grand Prix. He then won in Qatar and Saudi Arabia to move into a tie with Verstappen heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi. It looked like Hamilton was going to leave Verstappen disappointed, and then Nicholas Latifi ran into the wall on lap 54. What a finish!