Dutchman Verstappen, 24, took home the win in Abu Dhabi – and his first World Championship title – following a controversial decision by race directors to allow some of the lapped cars to overtake a safety car.
The move set up a one-lap drag race between Hamilton, 36, and Verstappen, which ultimately ended in a loss for the British racing star.
While some racing fans reeled over the decision – and Hamilton’s Mercedes team was considering taking the issue to court – it was a night of celebration for Verstappen and Kelly, who celebrated ‘her world champion’ on social media as they partied the night away with friends.
Brazilian model Kelly, 33, daughter of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet and ex-girlfriend of former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, shared more than a dozen posts marking the moment Verstappen took home the title.
No stress here! Kelly Piquet, girlfriend of new Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, shared her joy on Instagram last night following her beau’s controversial win
His No.1 fan! Verstappen rushed to embrace girlfriend Kelly Piquet following his win
Lewis Hamilton (left) congratulates Max Verstappen (right) following a thrilling final race of the season in which Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap of the race amid major controversy
The Dutchman pipped Hamilton to his first World Championship on the final lap of the race in Abu Dhabi with a heart-stopping pass after a controversial decision from race control
Verstappen’s controversial victory: How the nail-biting Abu Dhabi Grand Prix unfolded
Lewis Hamilton led the entire race and was in total control after overtaking Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the first corner of the race, but a safety car in the dying moments gave the Dutchman the opportunity to wrest the title away from the British driver’s grasp.
Hamilton appeared to be cruising to an eighth championship, before Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed into the wall amid a duel with Haas’ Mick Schumacher just five laps from the end of the Grand Prix.
A virtual safety car was initially called and Verstappen and Red Bull used the opportunity to pit and fit fresh soft tyres, while Hamilton had no choice but to keep track position and stay out on his deteriorating hard tyres.
The drama-filled race began with the two title rivals nearly colliding on the very first lap of the race
However, a full safety car was subsequently called by Race Control, bunching up the field and all but wiping out Hamilton’s lead.
For a moment it looked as though the race could finish behind the safety car with Hamilton and Verstappen separated by five back-markers, but on the penultimate lap of the race, race control allowed the lapped cars to pass the safety car.
This meant that Verstappen was right behind Hamilton going into the final lap, which allowed the Dutchman to make full use of his soft tyres and racing guile, executing a heart-stopping pass to take his first World Championship.
Among them was a touching video of the moment Verstappen leaped over the barriers to embrace Kelly, planting a kiss on her in front of the eyes of the world.
She also shared a clip of a jubilant Verstappen being lifted up on the shoulders of his team and carried through the crowd.
Born in Germany in 1988, Kelly is the daughter of Nelson and Sylvia Tamsma, a Dutch model.
She spent most of her childhood living in the south of France before the family moved to Brazil when she was just 12.
At the age of 15, she returned to France, and lived there for another year before moving to England to study at a boarding school.
Soaking up the atmosphere: Kelly shared a clip of a jubilant Verstappen being lifted up on the shoulders of his team and carried through the crowd
Time to celebrate! Kelly and Max, centre, partied with Dutch driver Stan Pex
Letting loose! Verstappen, right, was joined by friends at a club in the hours after the race
Just two years later, she returned to Brazil to attend her senior year of school.
It wasn’t long before she moved to the US, attending Marymount Manhattan College in New York and majoring in International Relations.
During college, she took an internship in fashion and picking up work at Vogue Latinoamerica, Bergdorf Goodman, KCD PR agency, in addition to being a columnist for Marie Claire magazine.
Tears of joy! Kelly Piquet wept as she learned her boyfriend had won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Max’s girl! The racing driver ran over to hug Kelly in the moments after winning the title
A hug that means the world: Brazilian model Kelly beamed as she hugged Max after the victory
Sealed with a kiss: The couple packed on the PDA as they celebrated in front of the cameras
Alongside this, she built up a career as a model, posing for brands including PatBO and Lucas Boccalão, and walked the catwalk in a number of fashion shows.
Speaking to Glamour Russia, she explained: ‘Growing up in this world and seeing from very close what it takes for someone to reach such a high level, I can only associate racing to passion, perseverance, dedication, discipline, and adrenaline.’
Kelly, who has worked in motorsport PR and social media for Formula-E since 2015, clearly has a thing for Formula One drivers; the stunner previously dated Russian racer Daniil Kvyat, with whom she shares a two-year-old daughter, Penelope Kyvat. The couple were together from January 2017 until December 2019.
Kelly and Verstappen are understood to have been dating for more than a year, with the F1 driver taking their relationship public on January 1, 2021.
Proud girlfriend alert! Kelly reposted a string of Instagram uploads celebrating the win
Emotional moment: Kelly wrapped her arms around Max as he posed with the trophy
F1 royalty: Kelly’s father Nelson Piquet is a legend of the sport
Kelly is the daughter of Nelson and Sylvia Tamsma, a Dutch international model who shares two other children with the racer (pictured, Kelly with Nelson)
Kelly’s father Piquet made his Formula One debut with the Ensign team and drove for McLaren and Brabham (pictured in 1982)
Kelly with her father, three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet (right) and fellow F1 legend Niki Lauda
Kelly is the daughter of Nelson and Sylvia Tamsma, a Dutch international model who shares two other children with the racer.
Piquet made his Formula One debut with the Ensign team and drove for McLaren and Brabham.
He moved to the Williams team in 1986 where he took his third and final championship in 1987 during a heated battle with teammate Nigel Mansell.
The Brazilian subsequently moved to Lotus for 1988–89 and eventually went to the Benetton team for 1990–91 where he managed to win three races before retiring, at which point he tried his hand at the Indianapolis 500 for two years.
The father-of-seven now manages his sons Nelson Piquet Jr. and Pedro Piquet, who are also professional racing drivers.
Since his retirement, Piquet – married to Viviane de Souza Leão – has been ranked among the greatest Formula One drivers in various motorsport polls.
Within the last few months, she has shared snaps from Brazil, Monte Carlo, Russia, Milan and Amsterdam, as she travelled the world with her boyfriend.
Other snaps show her gushing over Max, with her birthday tribute to her boyfriend reading: ‘Happy Birthday to the love of my life. I love everything about you, about us and I am beyond proud of you. I can’t wait for all that is to come.’
It is believed Max only met his father-in-law Nelson a month ago, when the model shared a snap on her Instagram stories of the pair, writing: ‘Finally they meet.’
And earlier this year she spoke of her fears for her boyfriend when he takes part in races.
She explained: ‘It’s of course mixed emotions. I’m always super excited to support him but I always am nervous that everything goes well and that he doesn’t get hurt in an accident.
‘The danger is normally not the first thing that comes to my mind but after his two big accidents this year, I’m much more nervous.’
But last night the couple brushed aside any fears when Verstappen took home the win.
Verstappen said after the win: ‘It just summed up the whole season, which is completely unpredictable and crazy.’
Happy couple: Cheering Max on is his glamorous Brazilian model girlfriend Kelly (pictured together), who previously dated Daniil Kvyat for three years
Doting mother: The bmodel is the daughter of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet and previously dated Daniil Kvyat, with whom she shares a two-year-old daughter Penelope