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Brazilian Grand Prix
Interlagos, Brazil, 2 November 2008

Final positions in Interlagos:

1. Massa (Ferrari)

2. Alonso (Renault)

3. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4. Vettel (Toro Rosso)

5. Hamilton (McLaren)

6. Glock (Toyota)

7. Kovalainen (McLaren)

8. Trulli (Toyota)


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By Sarah Holt

1925: That's it then. I don't think we could have asked for a better finale to a brilliant season. Congratulations to Lewis. Britain's first champion since Damon Hill in 1996 and at the age of 23 he takes over from Alonso as the youngest in the history of the sport. Commiserations to Massa, who's come on massively this season to prove he can be a contender.

See you next season. Looking forward to Australia already.

1915: "Well done Lewis, fantastic maiden championship victory."
Overhead123 on 606

1906: "That was the most exciting Formula One race I have ever seen."
1996 world champion Damon Hill on Five Live

1900: A tearful Massa gives his thoughts in the media conference: "It was an emotional day for me. You get here and you've almost done everything perfect but we saw Lewis passing Glock again and then it was mixed emotion. It's one more day of life when I will learn a lot but for sure I'm very emotional."

1857: Hamilton is lost for words as he is mobbed by the media in the pit-lane while Massa soaks himself in champagne rather half-heartedly on the podium. Hamilton says: "It's amazing. I need to get my breath back. Give me some time."

1855: Hamilton is being hugged by his brother Nicholas while girlfriend Nicole waits to plant a smacker of her own on the new world champion.

Here's what his Dad Anthony Hamilton had to say: "I'm absolutely shattered, I just hope the result sticks. I thought it was over."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis: "I feel pretty good. It's not quite sunk in yet. It was a very challenging race but we knew we just had to do it right."

1853: Hamilton is out of his car and is mobbed by his McLaren team. Massa puts on his race-winner's hat but despite the win, the Brazilian looked like he was in tears when he climbed out of his car. He comes out to the podium now to salute the crowd but he doesn't look too happy as the title slipped from his grasp at the very last corner.

1850: So let's explain what happened then as Lewis Hamilton takes the title by the skin of his teeth. On the last lap, Hamilton was out of it down in sixth place, but in the climb up to the final hill the McLaren driver passes Glock's slowing Toyota to take fifth place. From the looks of it, Hamilton didn't even realise he passed Glock. The reason Glock was slowing was because he was still on the dry tyres and just didn't have any grip in the closing stages. What a finish! Incredible stuff. To be honest I had no idea what was going on - but Hamilton is champion.

Brits Up


Lap 70: Vettel is pulling away from Hamilton now. He's 0.4 seconds behind and is struggling for grip. It looks like the title is over for Hamilton. Lightning might just strike twice in Brazil!

Lap 69: Vettel passes Hamilton for fifth place. Hamilton's lost the title if it stays like this.

Lap 67: Race leader Massa is in now to the Ferrari pits. Hamilton is in fifth place after his dive into the pits so the title is safe so long as he keeps Vettel behind him. Faces in the McLaren garage were ghostly for a minute but it looks like their man is safe.

Lap 66: Raikkonen and Hamilton return to the pits. It looks like McLaren have taken the conservative approach or is this a major mistake? Massa is still out.

Lap 66: Vettel is trying to pass Hamilton for fourth place. It is raining out there but not enough to slow down those still out on track just yet.

Lap 65: Heidfeld and Fisichella come into the pits as does Rosberg and gosh a host of other people.

Lap 62: Reports on 5 Live that the rain is starting to fall. Here it comes. The Renault team radio - who else? - reports drops of rain, drops of rain. Is there going to be a final twist? If the rain comes down does Hamilton have time to come back in for new tyres and still retain his position?

Lap 60: Some Brazilian fans are delving into their bags for their waterproof coats. Hmmm is rain on the way or what? Massa has a 12.3-second lead over Alonso in first place while Hamilton is back in fourth, 26.4 secs behinds. But as things stand Hamilton is on course to claim the 2008 world title. The Englishman whizzes round Interlagos in his McLaren while boss Ron Dennis speaks to him and keeps him steady on the team radio. Just 11 laps to hang on.

Lap 59: BBC 5 Live commentator David Croft shares my view about some late drama, he wants "a few more twists and turns". We might get them too as the ominous voice of the BMW Sauber radio says, "it could rain in 10 minutes".

1830: "Sitting in Poland watching the Polish TV coverage and willing Lewis to stay on the track."
Mkitson on 606

Lap 56: The ever-informative Renault radio reports that rain could be on its way. Last-gasp drama anyone? Oooh yeah, I think that'd be good.

Lap 53: Massa's lead at the front is now 9.8 secs ahead of Alonso with Raikkonen 16.7 secs further back in third. BBC 5 Live reporter Lee McKenzie says the Ferrari camp are looking pretty gloomy with arms folded as they see Massa's title victory chances fading fast. She's also been noseying around the McLaren garage too and says Hamilton's Dad Anthony is pacing up and down speaking to nobody - not even the Pussycat Doll.

Lap 51: Vettel pits from second place and Hamilton flies past the pit straight to move up into fourth place - and that puts the championship two points closer to the Englishman's grasp.

Lap 49: Webber pits from sixth place.

1817: "Keep it pointing the right way, Lewis, and you should have this..."
Yorker_129-7 on 606

BBC 5 Live's Maurice Hamilton is the voice of caution though: "It's too close for comfort for my liking I'm afraid as anything could still happen."

Lap 45: OK, so just 26 laps to go at Interlagos and as things stand Hamilton will capture the world title that eluded him in Brazil last season. His chief rival Massa is on course for the race victory on home soil as he holds a 4.1-second lead over Vettel.

Lap 43: The Ferrari team get Raikkonen in and out in just over five seconds and give the Finn's visor a big wipe as he returns to the track. Massa is back in the lead on his home circuit.

Lap 42: Kovalainen comes into the pits which pushes his team-mate Hamilton back into fourth. The world championship is looking good.

Lap 40: Alonso pits from the lead while Hamilton comes back to the McLaren pits. He is in and out in 8.9secs.

Lap 38: Massa returns to the pits and stays in for 9.4secs which is quite a lengthy stop but will he have to stop again before the end of the race? He stays on the hard tyres and returns to the race behind rival Hamilton in fourth. Alonso takes over the lead.

Lap 36: Massa sets a new fastest lap as he builds a 6.5-second lead over Alonso. The way things are going the Brazilian is at least set for victory in front of his home fans if not the championship.Meanwhile, Glock flies into the pits from fifth place.

Lap 31: Vettel's team radio tells him to keep pushing as they are chasing Alonso, who is four places ahead in second. Alonso's radio magically responds with the voice telling him they reckon his Renault is fuelled for two laps longer than Massa, which means Alonso has that much time to build up a decent lead. Championship leader Hamilton is settling into his rhythm at Interlagos now and sets the new fastest lap of 1:14.159.

1755: "There is still a long way to go on such a bumpy track and the drivers will be feeling the physical strain by the end of it. These conditions are changing all the time although thankfully the rain is keeping away. The track temperature is up to 27C now."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 27: Vettel comes back to the pits for another glug of fuel. Hmmm that will be why he was hanging on to Massa's coat-tails. That leaves Massa and Alonso to slug it out for the win while Hamilton moves up to fourth - good news for this title chances. Kovalainen in the second McLaren has also passed Trulli to take eighth place.

Lap 25: Kovalainen passes Heidfeld's BMW Sauber for ninth place while his team-mate Hamilton is being caught by Glock in fifth - that suggests Hamilton has quite a bit of fuel on board.

Lap 23: Massa sets another new fastest lap of 1:14.541 but Vettel isn't having any of it and continues to stay with him. Hamilton is closing in on Raikkonen in fourth place too.

Lap 21: Trulli's on the march. The wily old Italian tries to get past Bourdais for eighth place. He clips the Toro Rosso's rear left wheel which ends up sending Bourdais sliding across the grass at turn one. The Frenchman slips and slides but returns to the track in 13th.

Lap 18: Ooooh what is Hamilton doing? He tries to pass Fisichella's Force India for fifth place, the two cars travel side-by-side before Hamilton squeezes past and clear into turn one. That was a close one - but the result is that Hamilton has put himself on course for the world title. He needs to finish fifth to clinch the title even if Massa wins in Brazil. His Pussycat Doll girlfriend Nicole in the pits, claps her hands with enthusiasm.

1718: "Gutted for DC - may not have been the most prolific of drivers, but he was a great character and you don't get them in sport these days..."
Suffolk-fox on 606

Lap 15: Raikkonen is running suspiciously slower than his team-mate Massa who still leads the field in this topsy-turvy race at Interlagos. Is the Finn trying to hold up the field? At the front, Vettel is chasing Massa hard - he's just 0.9secs behind the Ferrari.

Lap 13: Difficult to keep up but I'll do my best. Hamilton passes Trulli who then comes undone with a big spin at turn two. The Italian drops down to ninth.

Lap 12: Massa is having more than a few wobbles out there at turns three and four. If we wanted drama it looks like we're getting it.

Lap 11: The leaders Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton all come in to the pits.Raikkonen gets out ahead of Trulli and Hamilton almost squeezes past too but he stays behind the Toyota for now.

Lap 10: Massa comes back to the pits from the lead as do Kovalainen and Heidfeld.

Lap nine: Time to make some decisions leaders as Vettel and Alonso pit for new tyres. Vettel stays ahead of Alonso on his way out. If these guys can pick up some pace this could alter the whole outlook of the race.

Lap eight: Bourdais, Glock, Nakajima and Sutil follow suit. How long before the leading contenders come to switch tyres too?

Lap seven: Rosberg and Button come in for dry tyres.

Lap six: Massa sets a new fastest lap of 1:18.859 as he builds a 1.8-second lead over Trulli's Toyota. Hamilton is motoring along in fourth.

Lap five: Kovalainen has a little nibble at Alonso through the Senna S combination and gets past his Renault but he is too tight on the right-hander and Alonso comes past him on the outside to snatch back sixth place. Kovalainen is all over the back of Alonso, it seems his job this afternoon is to keep the combatitive Spaniard in check and out of Hamilton's hair.Kubica is 17th after pitting for wet tyres.

Lap four: The safety car comes in. Let's go racing.

Lap two: OK, let's clear up Coulthard's sad demise. Nico Rosberg tapped his Red Bull from behind and Coulthard spun into Nakajima's Williams. Piquet's incident was totally unrelated. Here's some news from Alonso about the weather; "It's the same as before still quite dry everywhere apart from turns two and three."

Lap one: Massa retains his lead while Hamilton hangs on to fourth. Vettel moves up from seventh up to fifth while Alonso passes Kovalainen to move up to sixth. The safety car is out.

1713: It's a clean start in Brazil. But drama as Coulthard's career comes to a cruel end as he collides with Piquet's Renault coming through Turn One. That's their race over.

1712: Kubica is starting the race from the pit-lane; looks like he is changing tyres.

1710: Both Massa and Hamilton are starting on standard wets which looks like a good decision as huge plumes of spray kick up as Massa leads the cars out for the formation lap. It looks like the back straight and turns four and five are dry.

1706: BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton says there are areas of standing water on the circuit, but commentator David Croft thinks it could have just been a localised shower over the pit straight.

1705: "I think this is going to be great. A bit of drama already..and the race hasn't even started."
Man United 2008 on 606

1702: The Toro Rosso director Giorgio Ascanelli reckons his team should go with wets while the Renault team radio says no more rain is expected for 40 minutes.

1701: The safety car has appeared on the grid. It has now stopped raining and the sun is out! This means the teams have a very difficult decision to make about whether to go out on wets or stick with intermediates. Hamilton doesn't need to take any risks but what decision will McLaren make?

1700: The start of the race has been delayed by 10 minutes. Huge spots of rain are soaking everything and everybody on the grid. Renault boss Flavio Briatore's lovely silver fox hair-do has been unceremoniously flattened.

1657: Uh-oh, here comes the rain. It's bucketing it down and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has to scoot away to shelter pretty quickly. They could delay the start so the teams can put wet tyres on.

1655: Five minutes away now from the season showdown. You can also follow all the action on BBC 5 Live, who will also air a special in-depth Chequered Flag review on Monday.

1650: Very quickly, a word on David Coulthard. After 15 seasons in the sport, the 37-year-old Scot is retiring after today's race to start pastures new as a soon-to-be-father, an advisor to Red Bull and who know's what else. Here's what he says:

"Karen - my fiancée - took me to the airport as normal and it was only when I was just about to get in the car that I realised I'd be leaving home as a Grand Prix driver, for what that's worth, and be coming back as an ex-driver.

"People imagine what it is to be a sportsman or a grand prix driver - fast cars, women, money - and that is all the cliches.

"It is part of what takes people away from everyday life, but I've lived that and realised that my core values, the things I want and need, are not that."

1647: Here's McLaren boss Ron Dennis with the latest on Hamilton, as he wipes his forehead with a towel at the side of his McLaren. "He's calm. He knows it will be a challenging race. We have to manage everything very carefully but we're not uncomfortable with our strategy."

1643: The start of the race is certainly going to be interesting. The word is that Massa is fuelled lighter than Raikkonen and Hamilton so he will be aiming to build up a decent lead pretty quickly. The drivers are on the grid now and Massa is looking pretty relaxed as he talks to his race engineer Rob Smedley while Hamilton is keeping a low profile.

1641: "I sincerely think that Hamilton's ability to win the championship depends on his mindset at the start. If he goes into the start thinking that all he needs to do is to achieve 5th, and as such is cautious at the start, this could lead to cars barrelling into him at the first corner, which would be game over."
The artist formerly know as ! on 606

1639: The latest weather update from the track is that apparently there is less and less chance of rain during the race now as the cloud is breaking up.

1635: Massa climbs out of his car on the grid. He's targeting his first world title in front of his home fans in Sao Paulo, the city where he grew up. The noise the crowd are making at Interlagos, honestly you'd think they were watching Brazil in the World Cup final. The atmosphere is amazing; cheering, whooping flag-waving and some good old samba rhythms beating around the circuit. Despite all this, Massa is keeping pretty cool.

"I still can't imagine how it would be if I can win the championship at home. But it would be stupid to be thinking about that all the time. If you are just thinking about that maybe you have more possibilities to make mistakes, so you just need to concentrate on your job.

"We are not thinking of Lewis, just ourselves and what we have to do. If we think of Hamilton all the time we would go crazy."

1625: Time to hear from one of the main contenders, some chap called Hamilton. If he wins in Brazil the 23-year-old will become the youngest-ever world champion and Britain's first since 1996. If I were in his racing boots my stomach would be churning but as far as he's concerned it's pressure, what pressure?

"I'm feeling much stronger after last year. I'm happy to be here in Brazil, the Hamilton crew will be here supporting me flat out. I'm just trying to enjoy it and will try and approach it just like the first race. I've come here with the mentality that there is another race after this and that's the way I've had to deal with it. The pressure is not on me is it? As long as I drive the same I did in the last race I'll be fine - if I was seven points behind then I'd be under pressure."

1618: "All the big black clouds are behind us but the winds are swirling around so we know the rain is in the air but the wind gusting will change things. The teams will be watching the skies so carefully from here on in. Weather makes strategy calls very, very difficult indeed."
BBC 5 Live commentator David Croft

1615: McLaren boss Ron Dennis says the team have done everything they can to avoid a repeat of last year's technical gremlins. "We have done everything we can to eliminate the problem of a mechanical failure. We have run every single possible scenario that we could think of - and we introduced all the problems that we imagined could occur and factored those in.

"Can we damage a nose? Can we stop? Can we change a nose and still come fifth? All those things we factored into every scenario we could think of.

"I can say whatever the outcome, if our car fails - and we don't want that to happen - that no more effort could have been put in than we put in."

1610: Like I said ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, I don't want to be a merchant of doom but it's worth remembering how Hamilton's title challenge came unstuck in the season-ending Brazil GP in 2007.

Hamilton arrived at Interlagos with a seven-point championship lead over Kimi Raikkonen and a four-point lead over then team-mate Fernando Alonso. But things went wrong when he ran wide on the first lap before his gearbox mysteriously locked in neutral to leave him at the back of the field. Hamilton recovered to seventh but Raikkonen took the chequered flag and with it the championship by a single point. You can read all about it using the lovely blue link below.

1555: In order to prepare myself fully for today's race, I stayed in last night and watched Tom Cruise's Days of Thunder. My house-mate regularly makes me watch feel-good films to keep me positive. Anyway, what are the chances of Hamilton doing a Cole Trickle and producing a fairytale ending to his remarkable story?

Growing up in Stevenage, Hamilton started off racing remote controlled car when he was a just a nipper. Then his Dad Anthony bought him a go-kart when he eight and five years later he was snapped up by McLaren boss Ron Dennis. The rest is history...

He's still getting plenty of support in his home town and Stevenage councillor Simon Speller told 5 Live: "I think people here want to keep a lid on their expectations. He's only 23, he's done exceptionally well but we're quietly confident. Along with Ian Poulter and Ashley Young you can take the boy out of Stevenage but you can't Stevenage out of the boy."

1542: "I've been left on my own due to my wife going to Nepal for a charity walk, Arsenal lost to stoke and England lost to "Stanford." I could really do with a Hamilton win to cheer me up!"
Hairnet on 606

1536: "I'm in the paddock right now and there is a big pile of tyres with extra wets written on them so if the rain comes the teams will be extra prepared. It's not raining at the moment though - it's pretty sunny in fact."
BBC 5 Live's Eleanor Oldroyd in Sao Paulo

1528: Warning! We have a slight technical issue here at BBC Sport HQ which means at the minute I can't receive texts. So it's 606 only for your insights and comments until further notice.
Join the debate on 606

1525: Mustn't forget that away from the title contenders there are a few other drivers for whom the Brazilian GP is a bit of a landmark race too. One of them is the smiley Sebastian Vettel who gets behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso for the last time before jumping ship to join sister team Red Bull.

The 21-year-old German became the youngest-ever race-winner when he stormed to victory at the Italian Grand Prix this season, earning Toro Rosso their first Grand Prix win to boot.

And he's been showing some traditional F1 driver party spirit as he counts down to the end of the season. "To be honest I will not think about this being the last race," says Vettel. "We will try our best. Then on Sunday night we have a good opportunity to party together!"

1510: "I hope that Massa wins today, and also the world championship. Hamilton is young, and has loads of time to win lots of titles. Hamilton's day will come. I only hope that it will be a fair race, and that speculation about Alonso crashing into Hamilton will not happen."
Westawake on 606

Celebrity spot!
1505: This isn't strictly a celeb spot but we'll raise a glass of virtual champagne to PM Gordon Brown, who's sent Hamilton a good luck message all the way from Saudi Arabia.

"Lewis Hamilton is a hero to so many young people in Britain," he said from his diplomatic tour of the Middle East. "I think he will be a great world champion. He just missed out last year. I think everybody will be rooting for him today."

1455: I want to get the maths out of the way fairly early doors if that's OK with everyone. So, Hamilton has a seven-point lead over Massa in the drivers' standings.

Hamilton will be champion if he finishes fifth or higher regardless of where Massa finishes.

If Massa finishes second Hamilton will still be champion if he finishes seventh or higher

If Massa wins the Grand Prix and Hamilton is sixth or lower than the Brazilian will take the title.

If Massa finishes second he will win the title if Hamilton is eighth or lower.

If the pair are tied on points at the end of the race - which could happen if Massa wins or finishes second with Hamilton eighth - Massa would win the title on count-back as he has three second-place finishes compared to Hamilton's two.

1445: "I've got a feeling Lewis will do just what he needs to to win the championship. Doesn't need to win the race or even challenge Massa just drive sensibly and it's his."
ArsenalJim on 606

1440: "It was raining at Interlagos but it has stopped now - though it is still cloudy overhead. The latest forecasts say there is a 70% chance of rain during the race. The temperature has inexplicably just risen in the wacky world of Brazilian weather.

"The track is awash with people in Ferrari garb and in the two days I've been here I've only met two British fans, so it seems like there aren't a lot of people travelling here to support Lewis.

"The fans that are here have just been treated to a Porsche race and now a big yellow lorry, a VW camper van and a Toyota pick-up truck are following each other round the track in a rather bizarre spectacle."
BBC Sport's Adam Parsons in Sao Paulo

1430: One world championship, two drivers and just one race to decide which of them will be crowned the 2008 champion.

Will it be McLaren's masterful Lewis Hamilton or Ferrari's fast and furious Felipe Massa who will claim the world title for the very first time at Interlagos?

From where I'm sitting it still looks too close to call, but what do you think?

I'd like YOU to get as involved as possible via text on 81111 or 606.
Join the debate on 606

see also
Massa on pole as Hamilton falters
01 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton cannot take title for granted
31 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'feels Senna connection'
31 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Relaxed Hamilton ignores pressure
30 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Will Hamilton win the world title?
31 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Massa shrugs off title pressure
28 Oct 08 |  Formula One

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