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Verstappen will always be a fighter, says proud father Jos

Verstappen will always be a fighter, says proud father Jos

Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the race and the world championship on the podium with second placed in the race and world championship Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and third place in the race, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. (Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed)

Max Verstappen's proud father Jos highlighted his son's fighting spirit as the Red Bull driver ended Lewis Hamilton's reign as Formula One champion and took his first title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The former F1 racer also revealed he had walked away at one point in a race of changing fortunes when it looked like the dream was over.

"Because of the safety car we are in this position but still you have to do it," Jos told Sky Sports television after his son overtook Hamilton on the last lap of a dramatic and controversial race.

"I think the team had a good strategy on that as well, they called him in. They are doing a lot of things very good and I think Max was the driver this year and he really deserved this championship.

"He kept fighting. He will always fight. That's in his DNA, I guess... he said to me 'every lap I was flat out' and he was driving to the maximum. And then he had one chance, one lap and that's what he took."

Verstappen had started the race level on points with Hamilton but 9-8 ahead on wins, and there were fears a collision could settle the outcome.

They came close to contact but stayed apart, Hamilton leading but Verstappen brought back into play by strategic pitstops and the safety car just when his hopes appeared to be over.

"During the race I walked away because I didn't believe it any more. But I came back the last lap," said Jos, a team mate of future seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher at Benetton in 1994.

He also drove for Benetton, Simtek, Arrows, Tyrrell, Stewart and Minardi before retiring in 2003.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: Reuters

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