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Lewis joins the greats - Lewis Hamilton F1 World Champion

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After the most nail-biting championship shoot-out in a generation, Lewis Hamilton secures the F1 driver's championship

Lewis Hamilton has become the ninth Brit to take the Formula One World Driver’s Championship title after a thrilling down-to-the-wire race in Brazil in challenging wet-dry conditions.In doing so, Hamilton has taken the crown as the youngest ever driver to secure the title at the age of 23 years and 301 days. In doing so, he succeeded former team-mate and bitter rival from the 2007 title fight, Fernando Alonso.Entering the final race of the season, Hamilton had a seven-point margin over his title challenger, Felipe Massa (in simplest terms, the Ferrari driver needed to win with Hamilton finishing lower than fifth position to win the title), but the McLaren Mercedes team wasn’t taking victory for granted. It was an identical scenario to last season’s finale, where Hamilton was on course to win the title before a gearbox glitch put him to the back of the field.This time round, McLaren played a tactically astute race, targeting fourth or fifth position, and leaving the Ferraris and a fired-up Alonso (Renault) to run at the head of the pack. However, the wet-dry conditions ensured that Hamilton would not enjoy a comfortable run to the finish – a pre-race shower saw everyone apart from Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber) starting on intermediate tyres, before an early switch to grooved dry tyres.However, the McLaren plan nearly came unstitched when a late shower saw everyone apart from Timo Glock (Toyota) dive into the pits for intermediate tyres. With two laps to go, and running in fifth position, Sebastian Vettel (Scuderia Toro Rosso) took Hamilton, dropping the Brit to sixth place, and – crucially – out of the championship reckoning.However, Glock was struggling on dry tyres on a damp track, and Hamilton passed the slowing Toyota on the very last corner before the chequered flag to take the closest championship finish since James Hunt’s rain-sodden victory at Fuji in 1976.Even before his tyres had cooled, the pundits were praising Hamilton’s efforts.Britain’s last Formula One World Champion, Damon Hill, said: ‘Lewis has pulled it off and I think he will go on to win many more world championships. It will be very interesting to see the effect. Lewis is a new character in F1 and he's going to carry the sport into new areas.’

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