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Verstappen wins Autosport’s International Racing Driver of the Year Award

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen is the winner of Autosport’s 2021 International Racing Driver of the Year Award presented by Pirelli.

Verstappen wins Autosport’s International Racing Driver of the Year Award

Verstappen ended Lewis Hamilton’s domination of F1 by snatching the crown in the dramatic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale. The Red Bull star took 10 wins and 10 pole positions on his way to his first F1 title.

Autosport readers have voted Verstappen the best racing driver of 2021, ahead of main rival Hamilton, IndyCar champion Alex Palou and Formula E title winner Nyck de Vries.

Verstappen’s victory was announced on 6 February at the Autosport Awards, which returned to a live event at Grosvenor House on Park Lane following the online-only competition of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"First of all, I would like to say a big thank for you to all the fans for voting for me to win this award. All the support over the year was amazing," said Verstappen via a video message.   

"I would like to thank Red Bull and Honda for giving me the car to win the world championship."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner accepted the award on behalf of Verstappen, adding: "Obviously he has developed and matured over the last few years. The way he drove last year was outstanding and to go up against Lewis Hamilton who was at the top of his game. 

"Max led more laps than any other driver and won more races, he thoroughly deserves this award." 

The award, which has been running since 1982, is open to professional racing drivers competing at international level. Verstappen is the first Dutch driver to win the award.

Former winners include F1 world champions Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Sebastian Vettel, while the British drivers on the honours list are Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jenson Button and Hamilton.

2021 drivers champion Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on the podium with a Dutch flag

2021 drivers champion Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on the podium with a Dutch flag

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Other categories decided by fan voting include British Competition Driver of the Year, Rookie of the Year, International Racing Car of the Year presented by Blink Experience, Rally Car of the Year, International Rally Driver of the Year, National Driver of the Year and Esports Driver of the Year presented by Motorsport Games.

Further awards, decided by expert judging panels, include the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, and the Pioneering and Innovation Award presented by Mahindra Racing incorporating the John Bolster Trophy for Technical Achievement. New awards for 2021 include the Gold Medal incorporating the Gregor Grant Award and Esports Team of the Year presented by Motorsport Games.

To find out who our other Award winners are, go to autosport.com/awards

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