Brazilian model Kelly Piquet could not hide her joy as she embraced boyfriend Max Verstappen after his stunning victory in Abu Dhabi, where he overtook rival Lewis Hamilton on the last lap to seal the Formula 1 world title.
Verstappen triumphed in remarkable scenes at the Yas Marina circuit as the late deployment of a safety car derailed Hamilton’s seemingly serene progress towards an eighth world title.
Red Bull driver Verstappen was handed a last roll of the dice by a late tire change and some controversial decision-making by race officials.
But the Dutchman, 24, kept his cool to rip past Hamilton on the last lap to clinch a first-ever F1 title.
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021
Among those to congratulate the star in chaotic scenes trackside was Verstappen’s lover Pique – who is the daughter of Brazilian F1 legend Nelson Pique, himself a three-time world champion.
German-born Kelly, 33, was seen hugging Verstappen tightly amid wild celebrations after the last-gasp conclusion to an incredible season in which the title battle had ebbed and flowed between the Dutchman and his British rival.
— Tutkumuz F1 (@F1tutkumuz) December 12, 2021
MAX VERSTAPPEN E KELLY PIQUET!!! pic.twitter.com/9dMkbMqm0n
— Blog Fórmula 1 (@blog_formula1) December 11, 2021
Max Verstappen, new F1 World Champion and going out with Brazilian supermodel Kelly Piquet, daughter of 3 time World Champion Nelson Piquet
It's a tough life pic.twitter.com/y97Bn8NXy2
— Scottie (@ksc4273) December 12, 2021
The moment was picked up by the cameras, with one fan gushing: “Thank you for blessing us with your presence, Miss Kelly Piquet, the most beautiful lucky charm in the world.”
Verstappen and Piquet are thought to have been in a relationship since October 2020, although the model and media personality previously dated Russian racer Daniil Kvyat.
Piquet and Kvyat have a daughter together, Penelope, who was born in July 2019, although the pair are said to have split in December of the same year.
Kvyat, 27, previously raced for the Red Bull F1 team, but was replaced by Verstappen in 2016 as the Russian was shunted to affiliate team Toro Rosso.
Verstappen has never looked back, while Kvyat is now a reserve driver for F1 team Alpine.
Capping his remarkable title triumph, Verstappen paid tribute to his team on Sunday.
“To my team, I think they know I love them. I hope we can do this for 10 to 15 years together,” said the Dutchman, who is the son of former F1 racer Jos Verstappen.
“There’s no reason to change, ever. I want to stay with them for the rest of my life. They love me. Yeah, it’s insane!
“I’m so happy, and also [Red Bull team boss] Christian [Horner] and [Red Bull advisor] Helmut [Marko] trusting me to be in the team in 2016.
“Our goal, of course, was to win this championship, and now we have!”
While there was unbridled joy for Verstappen, his partner Piquet and the Red Bull team, Mercedes confirmed that they had filed a protest against the decisions made by officials surrounding the safety car in the closing stages.