Max Verstappen has revealed he feared he might not have been able to complete the final lap of the Abu Dhabi F1 title showdown after suffering from cramp in his leg.
Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were sent into a last-lap shootout in last year's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a controversial late safety car period.
The Dutchman successfully passed Hamilton at turn five in a move that secured his first world title and denied the Mercedes driver a record-breaking eighth and having previously revealed that he had suffered on the final tour, Verstappen shed further light in an interview with The Guardian.
“I tried to be really on it with the restart," said Verstappen. "It was all working well until I crossed the line and started to feel cramp in my leg.
"It’s one of the most painful things that can happen because you’re going full throttle for a long time. You feel the muscle clenching and becoming like a tennis ball.
"Of course, the adrenaline helps because, if it were to happen when you’re just walking around, you cannot move. It’s impossible. But there was no option; I had to [continue].
"So I was just keeping it full throttle and I could feel my leg hurting more and more. Luckily, turn five arrived and I went for the [overtaking] move. I had like three seconds off-throttle.
“You then have two very long straights and, on the second one where Lewis came back at me, I could feel my foot vibrating. I couldn’t control it because the muscle was having a spasm. My foot on the last sector was like this [juddering].
“If you go back over the data you will not see a very smooth throttle input. I was screaming on the radio [after he had won] but the whole lap my foot was [juddering].
“It was completely done. One more lap and I couldn’t have finished the race like that. The stress levels were so high in the final lap that probably your body reacts to that. But you cannot give up.”