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Although the race had started in the rain, the skies quickly cleared up, leaving the drivers with a rapidly drying track and good visibility. But as the race wound to a close, reports of rain came in for the last few laps and the drivers began pitting for the third round to switch to rain tires. Of the cars at the head of the pack, only Toyota's returning rookie Timo Glock gambled to stay on dry tires for the closing laps in the hope of holding on to his solid fourth place. Felipe Massa held his commanding lead for nearly the entire race distance (falling back only temporarily in the pits), all but locking up victory at his home race in front of thousands of cheering fellow Brazilians. Massa was doing all he could to win the race and take the title. Now it would depend on the position in which Hamilton finished.


The young McLaren driver came to Brazil in the same place he had been last season: heading into the final round seven points ahead in the championship. But would he repeat his mistakes and give the title to Ferrari? After starting the race in fourth, he dropped down the field to seventh, only to take fifth again and looking to seize the crown until rookie sensation Sebastien Vettel in the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso managed to squeeze by him in the penultimate lap. If these positions would hold for less than just two laps, Vettel would be credited for giving Massa the title.


But then the unexpected happened. After Massa had crossed the finish line, Glock, Vettel and Hamilton came through the very last corner before the straight to the finish line. Glock, still on dry tires, apparently couldn't hold on in the corner and both Vettel and Hamilton slipped by. Vettel moved up to fourth place, but most crucially, Hamilton was elevated to fifth. With a fifth place finish, Hamilton won an all-important extra point over Massa – just enough to claim the drivers' title in one of the closest season-ending grands prix in motor racing history.


It was so close, in fact, that the cameras missed it. Massa's family was already celebrating in the Ferrari garage. And the multitude of viewers around the world sat on the edge of their seats as even the broadcasters missed it. But Lewis Hamilton was crowned the youngest ever champion in Formula One history, edging out former team-mate Fernando Alonso, who looked down from the podium alongside a still jubilant Felipe Massa who was still happy to have won his home grand prix and done everything he could to take the title. Next to him were last year's champion Kimi Raikkonen and their team principal Stefano Domenicali, who stepped up to accept the constructors' trophy for the race in symbolic lieu of the constructors' championship that the team secured with their double-podium finish. Maybe not the drivers' title they hoped for, but as Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo pointed out to us last week in Sicily, enough to propel the Scuderia into the history books for securing eight titles in the past ten years. With the titles split between Ferrari and McLaren, the heat is already on for next season.

  • Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa wins Brazil Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 2, 2008. Lewis Hamilton was crowned Formula One champion after finishing fifth in the Brazil Grand Prix AFP PHOTO/VANDERLEI ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari leads from Jarno Trulli of Italy and Toyota, Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes at the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Felipe Massa (C) of Brazil and Ferrari leads from Kimi Raikkonen (L) of Finland and Ferrari, Jarno Trulli (2nd right) of Italy and Toyota and Lewis Hamilton (R) of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes at the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes drives on his way to winning the Formula One World Championship during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes drives on his way to winning the Formula One World Championship during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes comes in for a pitstop during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Felipe Massa (C) of Brazil and Ferrari looks disappointed on the podium alongside second placed Fernando Alonso (L) of Spain and Renault and third placed Kimi Raikkonen (R) of Finland and Ferrari after winning the race but losing the World Championship at the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari looks disappointed on the podium after winning the race but losing the World Championship at the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: Championship rivals Felipe Massa (L) of Brazil and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (R) of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes shake hands at the drivers end of year photo session prior to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 02: New Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes (L) celebrates with his half-brother Nick Hamilton (R) following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 2, 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix

1 Felipe Massa Ferrari
2 Fernando Alonso Renault
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
4 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
6 Timo Glock Toyota
7 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
8 Jarno Trulli Toyota
9 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
10 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber
11 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber
12 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
13 Jenson Button Honda
14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari
15 Rubens Barrichello Honda
16 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari
17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
18 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:13.376

Not classified/retirements:
Nelsinho Piquet Renault
David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault

World Championship standings
after 18 rounds

Drivers:
1. Hamilton 98
2. Massa 97
3. Raikkonen 75
4. Kubica 75
5. Alonso 61
6. Heidfeld 60
7. Kovalainen 53
8. Vettel 35
9. Trulli 31
10. Glock 25
11. Webber 21
12. Piquet 19
13. Rosberg 17
14. Barrichello 11
15. Nakajima 9
16. Coulthard 8
17. Bourdais 4
18. Button 3

Constructors:
1. Ferrari 172
2. McLaren-Mercedes 151
3. BMW Sauber 135
4. Renault 80
5. Toyota 56
6. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 39
7. Red Bull-Renault 29
8. Williams-Toyota 26
9. Honda 14



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm just glad that McLaren and Lewis won the title this year after all the turmoil they had to go through last year. If McLaren didn't have to pay that fine of 50 million pounds, and had spent that money on the car instead, Lewis could have won it before the last race.

      I feel sorry for Massa though. Unlike some other drivers such as Fernando Alonso, Massa is a true sportsman. I hope he'll win the championship before he retires from the sport.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Depends on how you want to look at it...

        McLaren got a Ferrari on the cheap....

        Ferrari thru away the title on their own with realiability anyways

        I don't believe there was a conspiracy, but Hamilton got very lucky with Glock, he through away the championship when Vettel passed him, he had no pace to catch him, too bad for Massa the conditions deteriorated by the final lap, but still Ferrari is ultimately to blame for not bringing more points to the final round, no one else.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Absolutely amazing race. Nothing short of nerve-racking and face-clenching. Hamilton drove the wheels off his McLaren this year, and he now has the crown to show for it. This was his best race so far, with Silverstone earlier this year being a very close second...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Best race so far? Uhh, he finished 5th. Sure, Hamilton did what he had to do, but it didn't have to be that close.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i'll add my two cents. Glock was driving dry tires on slick pavement w/o TCS(as they have been all year). mind you for these cars its the same as driving as driving summer tires on ice in a passenger car. it cant happen. sure the conspiracy theorist's unite and say he slowed down. and he did. you cant go full speed with no TRACTION!
      • 6 Years Ago
      For the conspiracy theorists, Glock's own words:

      http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2008/11/8642.html
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are absolutely right. His take on the events do however lend a credible bit of logic to the equation IMO. After reading what he has to say and then weighing the options he had (the only other option in this case would have been to pit and come home in 7th place) then almost anyone could agree that is was a gamble for position on Toyota's part rather than them trying to affect the outcome of the championship. Think about it: opting not to pit from 7th place, inheriting 4th place and then giving it back on the final lap? That's a stretch. Pitting and staying in 7th place would have been the much more obvious case to ensure LH the victory if that was Glock & Toyota's intentions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not as if Brazil was the only race in the championship. Hamilton and Massa built points over the course of the whole season. Every turn of every lap of every race counted.

      And you have to give credit for the edge-of-your-seat season ender to Glock for taking the gamble on his tires.

      Can't wait to see the gang at Melbourne in March.



      • 6 Years Ago
      having watched and watched the replays the final few corners didnt look that wet
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why no info about Loeb wrapping up the WRC driver's title? Why no WRC coverage here?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because F1 is the world's most popular motorsport and if anything should be covered it is F1. Not that WRC isn't awesome and exciting and immensely popular, but F1 is just more popular (by number of fans).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why don't you submit it ...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe because Loeb is boring as hell. I don't think it's a coincidence that we went from "Hollywood" Petter Solberg to Leob and WRC lost coverage.

        Loeb is a great driver. But he's an awful interview.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. I also enjoyed this race and the entire season - it's been a really great year. I am not partial to Hamilton or Massa, and either deserved to be the World Champion.

      On another note, I wish David Coulthard could've finished his career on a little bit better note... But, watch out for the guy that's taking his seat - Vettel has a lot of potential!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder if Mclaren will give Hamilton that F1 LM like they promised if he took the title. The only condition was that he took the drivers and the constructors title. Ferrari took the constructors but thats not exactly Hamilton fault. Hekkis car had frequent problems, including the rim failure that nearly ended his career where he buried himself in the tire wall.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So did Glock give Hamilton a "gift" or were his tires really that bad that he could no longer put the power down for that last corner?
        • 6 Years Ago
        There was no gift. Glock's tires were just impossible to drive on in the wet. If you check the sector times you'll see that Glock was considerably slower in every sector on that last lap:

        Sector 1: Glock, 24.8 vs Hamilton, 21.6 vs Vettel, 21.8
        Sector 2: Glock, 54.7 vs Hamilton, 45.2 vs Vettel, 45.1
        Sector 3: Glock, 25.0 vs Hamilton, 19.3 vs Vettel, 19.0

        Also, Glock's sector times were quicker than those of his teammate Trulli who was also on the dry tires at the time, so unless there was some mass conspiracy going on at Toyota (unlikely, considering how aggressively they went after McLaren & Ferrari in both qualifying and the first stint) his difficulties were legit.

        Remember at Spa this year how Heidfeld on the intermediates charged his way up from 11th to 3rd on the final lap? F1 cars are virtually undriveable on the wrong tires when wet. If you also take into consideration that the last corner at Interlagos is usually taken flat out (190 mph or better... impossible to do on dry tires in the wet) you'll agree that Glock had to back way off. He had no choice. He even said as much in his interviews.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you look at Glock's lap time on the last lap vs Trulli, who was in the same car, with the same tires, in the same conditions, he was actually FASTER than his teammate. There was no gift. Doesn't anyone remember the end of Spa!? Same thing happened!


        • 6 Years Ago
        @Franz

        Those times are useless, post the same comparison on the previous lap.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If Toyota wanted to gift McLaren a win they would have pitted the cars and changed tires along with everyone else when it started to rain. Since Glock was behind Hamilton at that point.

        If anything, they gambled to get ahead of Hamilton by staying out on dry weather tires (and give Massa the victory). If the gamble payed off people would be saying Glock took the WDC from Hamilton with their bold move.

        In fact, there would have been absolutely no excitement in the last few laps if Toyota didn't do that gamble; Hamilton was 4th and Vettel 5th before changing to intermediates. Only because Toyota jumped to 4th by not changing tires, and Hamilton losing a spot to Vettel (and out of the championship), did it become interesting.

        On the last lap, Glock's time was actually faster then team-mate Trulli, both running in the 1:44s range. The Toyota's were a good 20s slower with dry weather tires then rest of the field on intermediates and Glock seemed to be pushing hard.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Everyone will have their opinion...I think Hamilton got an early Christmas present...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actully the gamble worked for Glock, he was 7th, before the changes (behind McLaren's Kovalainen) and finished 6th, giving his team a very imported extra point.
        Look at what Glock has to say at the Formula 1 officel web site: www.formula1.com

      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw the whole race on live TV, but I didn't see Hamilton getting any trophies. Is there a separate party for the championship winner? Sorry, I don;t know all that much about F1.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Driver's Championship and Constructor's Championship trophies are presented at the annual FIA Gala awards ceremony/event.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought it was a bit suspect however on the last bend you could see Glock fighting to keep the car on the track in the wet. Other cars passed him as well remember.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nope. No one else did. He was sixth. Well, maybe some lapped cars passed him...
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