Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out
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Max Verstappen has been nominated for BBC’s World Sports Star of the Year award, celebrating international sporting achievements throughout 2021. However, Lewis Hamilton has been snubbed from the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist after winning last year’s award.
Verstappen won his maiden Formula 1 world title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, controversially overtaking Hamilton on the final lap of the race.
It snatched a record-breaking eighth world title away from the British icon, and Verstappen could add to his bragging rights before the new year.
The 24-year-old Dutchman is up against an illustrious selection of worldwide sports stars, including triple 2021 Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore, Tokyo Olympics double gold-medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah and super-middleweight boxer Saul Alvarez round off the list.
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But Hamilton is absent from the list of nominees for the Sports Personality of the Year award, which celebrates British achievements.
Teenage US Open winner Emma Raducanu will be the favourite and is joined by another female in Paralympian Sarah Storey after securing another gold medal this summer.
Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, WBC champion Tyson Fury and Olympic gold medallists Tom Daley and Adam Peaty make up the contenders.
Verstappen replacing Hamilton as the latest F1 driver to win gold at the awards would only increase his bragging rights.
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Last December, Hamilton fended off Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and jockey Hollie Doyle to win his second SPOTY award, following his inaugural success in 2014.
After winning the main prize, he suggested there was more success to come: “To all the kids out there, dream the impossible.
“Seven [world titles] is just unimaginable. But when you work with such a great group of people and you really trust each other, there is just no end to what you can do together. I feel like I’m only just getting started; it’s really weird.”
It was the eighth time an F1 driver had won the award after the Silver Arrows star equalled Michael Schumacher’s world title record.
“It shows many iconic heroes we have here in the UK. Again I’m really proud to be among them all,” Hamilton continued.
“I will continue to try and do my part representing the country in the best way I can and please everyone out there, go out and follow your dreams.
“To all the kids – please, never give up on yourself, continue to believe in yourself, because you have what it takes to be great.”
There will be a new name on the trophy this month, but Hamilton’s comments still ring true today.
He will undoubtedly be back on the F1 circuit in 2022, fighting for the eighth Drivers’ Championship that so cruelly evaded him this season.
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