Max Verstappen poses to receive his driver’s world championship trophy from the FIA Gala Dinner in Paris… The Red Bull Champion says he thinks Sir Lewis Hamilton will be returning to the grid to renew their rivalry

  • Max Verstappen was present at the FIA Gala Dinner in Paris Thursday night
  • His 2021 World Championship trophy was collected by the Dutch Red Bull driver 
  • Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen’s opponent in Paris, opted not to go.
  • Toto Wolff of Mercedes said Hamilton had become ‘disillusioned,’ and that he could walk away.

Max Verstappen, who was dressed up in Paris to receive his driver’s world championship trophy, was the center of attention.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended in controversy. Verstappen won the last lap. Kelly Piquet, the Red Bull driver, was honored at Thursday’s Gala Dinner.

Although Lewis Hamilton was his title rival, Verstappen and Toto Wolff (the Mercedes team principal) decided not to attend the end of season event, it was an unforgettable night for them. 

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen collected the world championship trophy on Thursday night

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the World Championship Trophy on Thursday Night

Verstappen (right) attended the FIA Gala dinner in Paris along with girlfriend Kelly Piquet (left)

Verstappen (right), with Kelly Piquet (left), went to the FIA Gala in Paris.

Verstappen was in buoyant mood as he shook hands with departing FIA president Jean Todt

Verstappen seemed buoyant as he shook hand with Jean Todt, the departing president of the FIA.

Hamilton may be tempted to quit the sport, following his heartbreaking loss of the title he believed was his eighth and final world championship. 

Verstappen, F1’s new champion, expects Hamilton will be back next year to fight for the record eight title.

Red Bull driver, speaking to reporters in Paris before the governing FIA Gala Dinner, where he received the trophy as champion, acknowledged his Mercedes competitor’s pain. 

Verstappen said, “I’m not sorry. But I understand that it can be very difficult.”

“But that’s still racing.” Racing is all about fighting until the last. You know racing can bring out any outcome.

He also won a championship similar to that. “So I believe he understands as well,” said the 24-year old, who won Hamilton’s race at Yas Marina after a change in safety car procedures gave Hamilton a second chance, when it looked like he was out of luck.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton is considering quitting Formula One

Toto Wolff, Mercedes chief says Lewis Hamilton may consider quitting Formula One

Hamilton was awarded his McLaren debut title in 2008 after a final corner move that crushed Felipe Massa (Brazilian Ferrari driver)’s hopes.

Verstappen was unsure if Hamilton would return to the fight next season.

He said, “I understand why you are unhappy in the initial days of a race such as this.” But, he also stated that he understood that racing is a sport. He could look back on what he had accomplished.

He should feel that comfort. But, he should still be motivated to go on because he wants to compete for the eighth title. Next year, he’ll surely do it again.

“So I don’t see why you should give up, or stop right now.  

“But if you break this fundamental principle of sporting fairness, and the authenticity or sport, the stopwatch suddenly doesn’t make sense anymore. We are subject to random decision-making. 

Mercedes boss Wolff (pictured) and Hamilton snubbed the FIA gala in Paris on Thursday night

Mercedes boss Wolff (pictured), and Hamilton bailed on the FIA gala held in Paris Thursday night

The truth is that you could lose your love for a sport when you begin to doubt the effort you’ve put in, the tears and the blood.

“So, it will take us a while to process what happened Sunday. We won’t ever forget it, I think. It is not possible. You can’t do it as a driver.

“I really hope that we, the two of them and all the others can get through the events. The FIA and F1 can help us make the most of this situation and improve the sport in the future.

“But you cannot forget the suffering and pain that Sunday caused. It still seems surreal to me. It still feels surreal, even though I think about it.

Verstappen (right) passed Hamilton on the last lap in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Hamilton (right) was passed by Verstappen on Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last lap

Verstappen's victory at the Yas Marina circuit confirmed his world championship success

Verstappen won the Yas Marina circuit in his first world championship win.

Wolff is still refusing to talk to FIA race director Michael Masi after Sunday's race

Wolff refuses to speak to Michael Masi, FIA’s director of race operations after Sunday’s race