Max Verstappen donned golden shoes as he got back behind the wheel for tire testing in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday after winning the Formula One world championship for Red Bull.
The 24-year-old Dutch driver, who beat Mercedes’ seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton controversially in Sunday’s season-ending race, completed 124 laps of Yas Marina on the new 18-inch tyres for 2022.
Mercedes are still deciding whether to appeal the result of the race and have until Thursday, the night Verstappen is due to receive the champion’s trophy at a gala awards ceremony in Paris.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton seven corners from the end on Sunday after the safety car rules were tweaked, giving him an opportunity that Mercedes thought he should not have been allowed.
George Russell turned out for Mercedes, starting the next stage of his career after leaving Williams and replacing Valtteri Bottas.
Team reserve and Formula E champion Nyck de Vries joined the Briton and set the fastest lap as young drivers were also given track time.
Australia’s new Formula Two champion Oscar Piastri completed 131 laps for Alpine, who also had regular race driver Esteban Ocon testing the tyres.
Guanyu Zhou, who will become China’s first Formula One driver next season, tested for Alfa Romeo with Bottas also making his debut with the Swiss-based team.
McLaren gave Mexican IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward his first proper run out in F1 machinery with Daniel Ricciardo also completing a day of testing before heading for quarantine in Australia.
“What a car … I was expecting something ridiculous, but this is more than ridiculous,” O’Ward said of the experience. “I was struggling to keep my head up at the end.
“Nothing I’ve driven comes close to this, not even a hint of close. It is unbelievable.”
New Zealander Liam Lawson tested for AlphaTauri, American Logan Sergeant with Williams and Britain’s Nick Yelloly at Aston Martin. Ferrari tested Russian Robert Shwartzman and Italian Antonio Fuoco.