Motorsport: Formula One world champion Max Verstappen reveals rival team boss Toto Wolff sent glowing message praising Dutchman's victory

Newly crowned Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has revealed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff sent him a text congratulating him on a stellar campaign.

The Dutchman sealed his maiden world title on Monday (NZ time), edging seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton with a last-lap pass in a controversial ending to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes team lodged two protests immediately after the season finale, but they were thrown out by the race stewards, although the German team aren’t ruling out further legal action.

Verstappen tells Sky Sport UK the charismatic team principle appears to be moving on, despite the bitter taste of defeat still being fresh.

Toto Wolff - Mercedes boss
Toto Wolff - Mercedes boss Photo credit: Image - Getty Images, video - Sky Sport UK

"Toto sent me a text [saying] congratulations on the season, I deserved to win it," says Verstappen. 

"That was nice of him of course - emotions ran very high through that last lap from both sides of both teams."

Reflecting on an emotionally charged 24 hours for all cast members, Verstappen has praised Brit Hamilton for his sportsmanship in the moments after the final race.

The pair shared a handshake and an embrace in parc ferme, and Hamilton applauded Verstappen on the podium, despite his obvious disappointment at the result.

Speaking in glowing admiration of his fierce rival, Verstappen says, had the roles been reversed, he would have been devastated inside and out.

"Of course, it helps that you also have seven titles, I think that comforts him a bit.

"I think if it was the other way around, it would have been more painful for me, because I didn't have one. Lewis has been a great sportsman in general.

"He came up to me, congratulated me and it must have been very tough in that last lap. It also shows the respect we had for each other, in general.

"Of course, we had our tough times through the season, but in the end, we were respectful of what we were doing and we were pushing each other to the limit the whole season. 

"It has been really enjoyable racing against him."

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen Photo credit: Getty Images

The Red Bull driver says the championship is extra special, because it comes with a team that has molded him since he was plucked into their driver academy, before he hit his teens. 

Verstappen made his F1 debut for the junior Toro Rosso team - Alpha Tauri - as a 17-year-old in 2015, before graduating to the senior squad later that season.

"I have a really good relationship with all of them, and I was really trusting the process and being loyal, because they allowed me to get to Formula One at such a young age," says Verstappen.

"Everything they did to me I really appreciate that a lot.

"Sometimes, I might have had an opportunity, of course, to go somewhere else, and I could have got a championship earlier or whatever. 

"That doesn't matter now, but it does reward this one a lot more to do this together, having gone through all the years together."

Verstappen will officially be crowned champion at the annual FIA Awards, but if Mercedes lodge an official appeal against the stewards' verdicts, that could put the trophy presentation on ice.