Lewis Hamilton has secured the 2008 World Drivers Championship title in the last race, last lap of the season.In what could only be called a thrilling race by anyone’s measure, Lewis needed to finish 5th or better if Felipe Massa won the race. Felipe did just that with a spirited drive prompted by an incredible crowd of supporters in attendance. In the waning moments of the race, Sebastian Vettel passed Lewis Hamilton relishing the young Brit to 6th place and out of the championship heading into the final lap. As the two headed into the last turn of the last lap, Timo Glock’s Toyota, still shod with dry weather tires, fell into view and when Vettel and Hamilton passed Timo’s slower car, Hamilton reclaimed 5th position and with it the World Drivers Championship of 2008.
Lewis drove a disciplined race and even looked a bit too conservative as Vettel passed him but cooler heads prevailed at McLaren in the split seconds it takes to render judgment. McLaren, knowing Timo’s gamble, felt Lewis was still in good shape for the title. Whether incredible luck or brilliant strategy, McLaren brought the car home in the exact position they needed to win the title by one point. An amazing race that had everyone at F1B world headquarters on the edge of their seat.
The drive of the race in my eyes was Sebastian Vettel. An amazing performance and incredible drive form this young man who may just be the next biggest thing to F1 since…well…Lewis Hamilton. honorable mention to Ferrari and Felipe Massa who was not running on vapors to find speed as many expected and who won the race with brilliant fashion and terrific form. A win at home for Felipe is not like winning the title but he has nothing to be ashamed of as he had a good year and took it to the end doing what he had to do.
As for Lewis, his title caps a tumultuous two years with quite a different outcome than last year in similar circumstances. Lewis had a chance to redeem himself from last years failures and he did it with a fashion and discipline that has eluded him at times earlier in the year. Lewis looked in the championship form and like Massa, did exactly what he had to do to win the title. Nothing more or outlandish and nothing less than what the young man is fully capable of. A deserving title for a very determined young man. Lewis will make a fine champion and can cement his place in F1 history along with other greats and focus on celebrating with a team who worked tirelessly to bring the title back to the home of Formula 1. Congratulations Lewis and all at McLaren. We enjoyed the year and racing and wish you the very best for 2009.
Fastest lap: Massa, 1:13.376