OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov 02, 2008
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Champion.
In one of the most dramatic finishes to a world championship ever, Lewis took the title by a single point after securing fifth position on the final corner of the final lap of the final race of the 2008 season. Lewis finished the year with 98 points, one point ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who won his home race at Interlagos this afternoon.
Heikki Kovalainen finished seventh - a result that helped the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to second in the constructors’ championship with 151 points. Ferrari amassed a winning total of 172 points.
At the age of just 23 years, 10 months and 26 days, Lewis is the youngest champion in Formula 1 history. He takes McLaren’s 12th drivers’ world title, and the third for the McLaren Mercedes partnership, which won the drivers’ title in 1998 and ’99 with Mika Häkkinen.
2008 FIA FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPION
"The most dramatic race of my whole life. It’s pretty much impossible to put this into words: I’m still speechless. It’s been such a long journey, but I’ve always had the support of my family, the team, our partners and the fans. We did a fantastic job throughout the whole year and, with all the sacrifices we made, I’m so thrilled to be able to win this for everyone.
"Before it started to rain I was quite comfortable, and I was just focused on having a clean race. Then it started to drizzle and I didn't want to take any risks - but Sebastian got past me and I was told that I had to get back in front of him. I couldn’t believe it. Then at the very last corner I managed to get past Timo - it was just amazing. This was one of the toughest races of my life, if not the toughest. I was shouting, ‘Do I have it? Do I have it?’ on the radio. It was only when I took the chequered flag and got to Turn One that the team told me I was world champion. I was ecstatic."
"The most important news today is that Lewis pulled it off; he did exactly what he had to do to win the championship. Everybody in the team deserves this title, particularly after what happened here one year ago, but the guys stayed focused throughout so congratulations to everyone. I’ll now work even harder over the winter and hopefully next year's world champion will be on the other side of our garage!"
"Well, that was a really tough race. We never pushed hard, we never did anything silly, but of course the late rain made things extraordinarily tense. Even so, even when Sebastian got past Lewis, we never gave up, and Lewis never gave up, because we knew that Timo was on dry tyres. Lewis took his chance brilliantly, and the result was one of the most thrilling finishes in sporting history. I’m so proud of Lewis; I’m so proud of the team; everyone - every single one of them - did an absolutely fantastic job. Thanks, also, to Mercedes-Benz and all our partners - and, last but not least, congratulations to Ferrari on winning the constructors’ championship."
"I am really, really happy for all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Everybody in the team worked so hard throughout the year. Thank you all, guys. Lewis finally won the title with one point ahead of Felipe Massa after he lost it by one point last year to Kimi in his first one in Formula 1. Congratulations to him. Lewis showed a very disciplined race today and I can imagine how hard it was for a driver like him who wants to win every race that he had to drive carefully to just get the necessary points. Congratulations to Ferrari on the constructors’ title; this was a truly remarkable year for Formula 1."
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