The winners of this year's awards include Tom Brady and Max Verstappen ©Laureus

Formula One world champion Max Verstappen and Olympic sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah have been named as the winners of this year’s Laureus World Sportsman and Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year awards.

Dutch driver Verstappen, who holds dual nationality status in Belgium, edged Lewis Hamilton of Britain to claim his first Formula One title in spectacular fashion at last year's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

He also became the first Dutch driver to win the World Championship.

"I was very happy, of course, but it was a lot of hard work and years of preparation," Verstappen said at the virtual Laureus World Sports Awards.

"I’m incredibly proud.

"Since I was a little kid I dreamt of being on the top step and winning the Championship.

"I said to my dad [former Formula One driver Jos Verstappen] ‘we did it, this is what we worked for all these years and now we are here, the two of us, all the memories, all the years of travelling all over Europe, going for that one goal and we achieved it.'

Thompson-Herah of Jamaica was recognised for defending her 100 and 200 metres Olympic titles in Tokyo as well as securing the 4x100m relay.

She has been described as the female version of Usain Bolt.

"I know Usain has won Laureus Awards before, so to bring this trophy back home to the Caribbean, also in Jamaica, is very special," the six-time Olympic medallist said.

Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula One title against Lewis Hamilton last year ©Getty Images
Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula One title against Lewis Hamilton last year ©Getty Images

"I have watched that [100 metres] race about a thousand times now.

"I would say I am very, very proud, but I cannot dwell on the past. Even though it’s very special, it’s memories.

"I cannot just sit and say ‘OK, I’m a double Olympic champion, I’m a five-time Olympic gold medallist.

"I have to continue working because my motivation is to be even better.

"I told myself that I want to be the greatest female sprinter, so I am just going to focus on what the future holds for me."

The Laureus Team of the Year Award was handed to the Italian men’s football team for their triumph at the UEFA European Championships.

Italy topped Group A before beating Austria, Belgium and Spain in the round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals.

They met England in the final and won 3-2 on penalties after the match finished in a 1-1 draw at the end of extra-time.

Britain’s Emma Raducanu received the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award for winning the US Open at the age of 18.

Emma Raducanu shot to stardom after winning the US Open as an 18-year-old ©Getty Images
Emma Raducanu shot to stardom after winning the US Open as an 18-year-old ©Getty Images

She became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and the victory meant she rose 332 places in the world rankings from the start of the year to number 23.

British-Japanese skateboarder Sky Brown received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after recovering from a skull fracture in June 2020 to claim Olympic bronze at Tokyo 2020 at the age of 13 years and 28 days.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug was named Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year for a second time for winning the 800m, 1500m, 5,000m and marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics as well as setting the world record in the 1500m and a Paralympic record in the 5,000m.

The Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year was awarded to Bethany Shriever of Britain for obtaining the Olympic and World Championship BMX golds.

Prior to competing, the 22-year-old teaching assistant crowd-funded £50,000 ($63,000/€59,400) to subsidise her qualification.

National Football League quarterback great Tom Brady, who represents the United States, was honoured with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.

His record seventh Super Bowl was won with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his sixth appearance.

The previous six were achieved with New England Patriots.

Robert Lewandowski is regarded as one of the most prolific strikers in football ©Getty Images
Robert Lewandowski is regarded as one of the most prolific strikers in football ©Getty Images

Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowski and Italy’s motorcycle legend Valentino Rossi were also handed special awards.

Lewandowski is the fifth recipient of the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award for surpassing Gerd Müller’s record of 40 Bundesliga goals in a single season which dated back to 1971-1972.

He netted his 41st of the 2020-2021 campaign in the last minute of the last day.

Rossi, who retired at the end of the 2021 World MotoGP season, was given the Laureus Sporting Icon Award following an impressive 25-year career.

The nine-time world champion recorded 115 wins and 235 podiums and is the only rider to win titles in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP categories.

In the categories that recognise using power for good, the Laureus Sport for Good Society, Laureus Sport for Good Award and Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award was given to the Real Madrid Foundation, Lost Boys Inc. and Gerald Asamoah and the Black Eagles respectively.

The Real Madrid Foundation has used its position to improve over 1.5 million people’s lives, which are mainly children, in more than 100 countries and youth baseball scheme Lost Boys Inc. is working to transform dangerous areas in Chicago.

Asamoah appeared in the documentary Schwarze Adler, which translates to Black Eagles, alongside numerous German footballers.

The programme told stories of the experiences of black players in German football.