Max Verstappen has revealed that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff congratulated him on claiming the 2021 world title in the form of a text message, saying he "deserved to win".
Red Bull driver Verstappen beat season-long rival Lewis Hamilton to the championship in a highly dramatic conclusion to Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton led most of the race but lost out amid a late Safety Car period, with Verstappen taking the opportunity to pit for fresh tyres and pouncing on the one-lap dash to the finish - after the lapped cars sitting between the pair were allowed to overtake.
Mercedes were near-silent as a team after the chequered flag, with Wolff also declining to speak to media before leaving the track. Having seen two protests dismissed by the stewards, they lodged an intention to appeal - but the wait goes on to see if this will be pursued.
Despite the situation, Verstappen says Wolff has reached out to him personally to offer his congratulations.
"Toto sent me a text, [saying] congratulations on the season, and that I deserved to win it, so that was very nice of him, of course," Verstappen is quoted by The Telegraph.
Respect for Hamilton
Verstappen also praised Hamilton for the respect he displayed in defeat, with the pair captured sharing a moment together before the post-race interviews.
"Of course, it helps that you already have seven titles. I think that comforts him a bit!" Verstappen added.
"If it's the other way around, it would be more painful for me, because I didn't have one.
"Lewis is a great sportsman in general. He came up to me and congratulated me and it must have been very tough in that last lap. But it also shows the respect we have for each other in general.
"Of course, we had our tough times throughout the season, but in the end, we respect what we were doing and we were pushing each other to the limit the whole season.
"It has been really enjoyable racing against him."
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