Lewis Hamilton has claimed the 2008 Formula One World Drivers title after a nail-biting climax to the Brazilian Grand Prix. With Felipe Massa leading the race in dominant style at the front, Hamilton was struggling for pace further back. With rain from the start meaning nearly all competitors starting on intermediate tyres, the race was always going to be a belter. Hamilton happily ran around in fifth, keeping himself in the very position he needed to be in and won the title, just.
Most drivers started on intermediate tyres, rain suddenly falling on the track just moments before the start. In fact, the start was delayed by ten minutes to allow the shower to pass. From the start, Massa had the legs on everyone else, but Hamilton just kept himself in fifth – exactly what he needed to do. The drama wasn’t over though, as the race through up a final twist, just to keep us all on the very edge of our seats.
Despite the weather turning only slightly just eight laps from the end, most drivers pitted for intermediate tyres, including race leader Felipe Massa and championship leader Lewis Hamilton. However, on a slightly awkward track, Hamilton found himself short on pace and Sebastian Vettel in the Scuderia Toro Rosso gained quickly on the McLaren. Two laps from the chequered flag, Vettel made his move as Hamilton ran wide. You could hear the hearts of James Allen and Martin Brundle in the commentary box sink.
However, one lap later and at almost the place on the circuit, Timo Glock, who was in fourth, slowed himself. Vettel passed the Toyota as did the chasing Hamilton. Felipe Massa crossed the line as the winner, and as world champion he believed. The Ferrari team celebrated for a moment, then realised what was happening on the track. As Hamilton drove up the hill to the chequered flag in fifth, he became the youngest world champion, the ninth British champion and the first for McLaren in nine years.
Felipe Massa toured back into the pitlane, parked his car and shed a tear for what was so close, yet so far. Hamilton parked up, eventually got his steering wheel back on and was escorted back to the weighing area. With utter joy and jubilation, Lewis Hamilton has become Formula One’s newest world champion. With a sense of bitter sweetness to it, Felipe Massa has taken his eleventh race victory, the second on home soil, but will leave Brazil the runner-up in the title hunt.
With Kimi Raikkonen finishing in third, Ferrari have comfortably taken the constructors title, but undoubtedly, all eyes or on the young McLaren driver and his achievement at becoming the 2008 Formula One World Champion.