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From Alonso to Verstappen: Drivers Who Ended Hegemonies in Formula 1

These drivers ended hegemonies in Formula 1.

Max Verstappen celebrating the F1 title

The final stage of the 2021 championship was complicated, and it even seemed that it would not be achieved, but finally, Max Verstappen entered the history of Formula One by becoming world champion for the first time in his career. Photos: IG-maxverstappen1

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: De Alonso a Verstappen: conductores que acabaron con hegemonías en la Fórmula 1

The final stage of the 2021 championship was complicated, and it even seemed that it would not be achieved, but finally, Max Verstappen entered the history of Formula 1 by becoming world champion for the first time in his career and aboard Red Bull Racing. In addition, he brought down the four-year hegemony of Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, winner of seven drivers' titles, and champion in seven of the previous 13 editions were in the same position as Verstappen in 2014 when he knocked down the then four-time champion of German Sebastián Vettel. It was also experienced by the Spanish Fernando Alonso when he was crowned in 2005 over Michael Schumacher.

"It's incredible," confessed with a face bathed in tears Verstappen, the true architect of the feat that has allowed him to overthrow the seven-time champion. “I have tried throughout the race, I kept fighting, and then, of course, an opportunity on the last lap is incredible. I still have cramps! It's crazy, "said the brand new champion to Motor.es.

The Dutch driver, only 24 years old, is today the 33rd monarch in F1 and the fourth-youngest behind the aforementioned Vettel, Hamilton, and Alonso. "I do not know what to say. These guys, my team, and of course Honda too ... they deserve it. I love you so much! I have had a lot of fun working with them since 2016, but this year has been incredible ”, concluded Verstappen, dejected with emotion.

The merits of Verstappen

The season had an unusual ending. After a crash start in which the FIA protected Hamilton by not forcing him to regain position despite running off the track, the title turned uphill for Verstappen.

But Red Bull did not give up, he dedicated himself to plotting his strategy, waiting for a stroke of luck and praying. The Dutchman changed tires, Mercedes copied Red Bull's movement and Verstappen entrusted himself to the expertise of his squire, Sergio “Checo” Pérez, who was placed first after the first stop.

After 19 laps, Pérez showed his mettle by resisting the pressure from Hamilton and this allowed Max to take oxygen and get up a moment before Hamilton overtook him, thus starting a new race under his conditions. It was on lap 35 that Verstappen took advantage of Giovinazzi's safety car to stop and change tires.

Verstappen pitted, put on the soft tires and the race resumed on the last lap. It was there that Hamilton could not hold on with worn tires and the Dutchman was able to pass him before the straight and then defend himself by moving his car in a serpentine shape before the steep curves and thus not give options before the cross slope. Max was the world champion!

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Alonso dethroned Schumacher

Michael Schumacher had just won five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004 with Ferrari, and the Ímola circuit was like his home. It was seven victories at that track, a record. The German was looking to overcome in the fourth race of the calendar a weak start to the season towards his eighth World Cup, but Fernando Alonso, 23, did not allow it.

On that day, one of the pistons of the RS25 propeller of the Spanish Renault single-seater was badly damaged in its head since the previous Grand Prix and in order to withstand the entire race at Ímola, it was decided to disable the operation of the affected cylinder. Yes, Alonso beat Schumacher with one less cylinder in his car and with a high risk of breakage.

That situation meant a loss of 30 HP of power, which is equivalent to half a second slower per lap, so what the Asturian driver achieved was incredible.

Other domains that fell

The first great dominance of any F1 pilot was in its beginnings with the Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, who was crowned between 1954 and 1957 before the British Mike Hawthorn stopped his dominance in 1958, although he never again became champion of the world.

Another case already mentioned in this article but that corresponds to the modern era was that of Hamilton himself, when in 2014 he broke Vettel's streak with Renault to implant his streak of six titles in seven years, only interrupted by Nico Rosberg in 2016.

Verstappen and de Alonso is that they ended up with the hegemonies of the two greatest drivers in the history of Formula 1: Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.