Max Verstappen has said he “wouldn’t have been world champion” without the help of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
Formula One champion Verstappen returned to a hero’s welcome at the Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes.
He celebrated with teammates and supporters before admitting he owes his first title to the man nicknamed ‘Checo’.
Verstappen said of Perez: “The moves Checo pulled off were insane and without him, I wouldn’t have been sitting here now as the world champion.
“So I will be forever thankful to Checo as well for what he did.”
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Talking about the celebratory scenes at the Red Bull factory, he added: “It was very special to see everyone out there cheering me on.
“It’s an incredible feeling of course to win the championship but then also to come back and see everyone who contributed to the success at the end of the day.
“It’s slowly sinking in because it’s been very hectic all the way until now. But it’s definitely a very special feeling.
“I was very focused but very nervous. At the time I wouldn’t have said that but now I can!
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“Normally I’m not nervous but it was at the time super important to try and become a world champion.
“So it would have been a very important race for me and the nerves were there.”
Verstappen also spoke of the emotions he went through when he overtook Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He added: “It was just a big blur of everyone screaming; I was screaming. Just everything came out.
“It was a very tense season, very busy and a lot of pressure.
“When you realise you won the championship it was an incredible outburst of emotions.”
Verstappen says he will be targeting a successful defence of the championship with Red Bull in 2022.
But first, a rest is on the agenda.
He concluded: “I try to relax as much as I can because it’s been really intense this season so I can’t see a racing car for a few weeks!”
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