Speaking to CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies on Wednesday, Verstappen said he was looking forward to the moment his title win started to sink in.
“I think especially if you sign off from the season a little bit, you have some time to relax, so it gets even better,” he said.
“It’s been a lot more intense than I could have ever imagined, with the pressure of the whole year, but also with the way the last race went.
“I think if you’d told me the night before, I probably wouldn’t have slept, so yeah, really crazy.”
Verstappen explained how, as the crowd went crazy on a chaotic final lap, he tried to stay focused and struggled with a leg cramp, making full throttle a challenge.
He said it was an intense experience looking back at the race.
“The first few times it was quite emotional to look back, just the realization that you won the championship,” he said.
“Especially like that, the last lap, everything just came together, it was really intense.”
READ: Why was this weekend’s F1 title so controversial?
Lewis Hamilton was on course to take a record-breaking eighth world title until Verstappen took advantage of a late safety car to overtake the Mercedes driver on the final lap and take his first crown.
Race director Michael Masi’s decision to allow racing on the last lap infuriated Mercedes, which lodged two protests on Sunday evening which, after hours of talks, were rejected by officials.
The team had said it planned to appeal the decision, but announced on Thursday that it had not decided.
“We have always been guided by our love for this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit,” Mercedes wrote in a statement on Thursday.
“In the race on Sunday, many people, including us, felt that things were not right.”
‘Congratulations to you and your entire team’
It added: “We have appealed to sporting justice and since then we have been in constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to provide clarity for the future so that all participants know under what rules they race and how they operate.” will be enforced.
“We therefore welcome the decision of the FIA to install a committee to thoroughly analyze what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of the rules, governance and decision-making in Formula 1. We welcome also that they have invited the teams and drivers to participate.
“We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.”
Despite his dramatic defeat, with a record performance being taken away from him at the last minute, Hamilton was sporty after the race and congratulated Verstappen on the win.
His Mercedes team had been noticeably quieter, but praised the Dutchman and his team in Thursday’s statement.
The two teams were at war for most of the year in one of the most competitive seasons in F1 history.
“To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season,” the statement continued.
“You really made this Formula 1 championship title fight epic. Max, congratulations to you and all your team. We look forward to bringing the fight to you on the track next season.”
While a world title slipped from his hands, Hamilton celebrated his knighthood on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old Briton was named to the New Year Honors list in December 2020 and received a knighthood from the Prince of Wales for his services to motorsport at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.
The honor roll is published twice a year and recognizes those who have achieved excellence in a spectrum of pursuits, including both celebrities and non-famous faces.
“Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you have put your heart out for every lap of this incredible season,” said Mercedes.
“You are a flawless athlete on and off the track and you have delivered a flawless performance.
“As a pure competitor and a role model for millions of people around the world, we salute you.”
F1 is now taking a break before the drivers return to the track next year for what promises to be a fascinating season.