"Becoming world champion is my life goal achieved, everything that comes next is a bonus," admits Mas Verstappen as he collects the Formula One World Championship trophy.
With Mercedes opting to withdraw its appeal against the stewards decision in Abu Dhabi, the way was cleared for Max Verstappen to receive the official Formula One World Championship trophy, safe in the knowledge that it was not at risk of a legal challenge.
At a glittering event in Paris, an audience of 800 guests celebrated the outstanding performers and performances of 2021, and while the personalities and rising stars were lauded those lost to the motor sport fraternity in 2021 were remembered.
The highlight of the evening however was when out-going FIA President, Jean Todt presented Max Verstappen with the F1 trophy, less than a week after he won it in controversial circumstances in Abu Dhabi.
"Becoming world champion is my life goal achieved," said the Dutchman. "Everything that comes next is a bonus.
"Of course I am going to keep pushing and I'm going to be in F1 for a few more years yet," he added, brushing away fear that he might follow the example of 2016 champion, Nico Rosberg.
"While it's nice to be called world champion, I think more about the long journey and the all the hours I have spent working with my Dad to be here," he continued.
"It's been a long and tough season and I feel amazing to have finally achieved my goal. I hope I can do this many more times.
"It's been an incredible battle with Lewis, one of the greatest drivers ever in Formula 1. We really pushed each other. At the end of the day, we can look each other in the eyes and respect each other which is really important.
I have a lot of respect for Lewis," he insisted. "But, you know, I'm just very happy that I won in general because it's been a very tough season fighting against Mercedes and Lewis. I don't want to sound arrogant or whatever to say it's a great satisfaction to win against him. I just have a lot of respect for him as a driver, and I know he's an amazing driver in terms of what he has achieved, but I'm just very happy that we won it."
As the furore over the events in Abu Dhabi continues, a situation highlighted by the absence of Hamilton and Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, Verstappen said: I think in general, the quality has been very high, set by myself and Lewis. We have been pushing each other to the limit every single time.
"There have been quite some tough races, just physically also, because you were just pushing flat out all the time, there was no lap to rest. Throughout the whole weekend, qualifying, race, it was so important to always try and be perfect, which is very hard, in Formula 1.
"There's always some little tiny lock-up that can make a difference between P1 and P2, and in the championship battle we had that was massive, so the level of focus required was very high."