New world champion Hamilton is under the spotlight like never before
Formula One legend Michael Schumacher thinks Lewis Hamilton becoming the new world champion was "fate" - but warns that Felipe Massa will threaten again.
Hamilton pipped Massa to the 2008 title in dramatic style in Brazil on Sunday.
"I have never seen anything like this, not as a racer and not as a spectator - you can probably only say it was fate," Schumacher said on his website.
"What a finale. But Felipe can leave that race with his head up. He will for sure attack again next year."
Massa, who drives for Schumacher's old team Ferrari, won the season-ending race on home soil in Brazil but Hamilton, 23, finished in fifth place to become the youngest F1 champion, pipping Massa by only one point to the driver's crown.
"With this performance in Brazil, Felipe surely has convinced all the people who still had doubts about his driving skills," added Schumacher.
"I congratulate Lewis Hamilton and I am sending very warm greetings to Felipe and all our guys in Brazil."
Meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has told McLaren star Hamilton the Italian team will do all they can to win back the title in 2009.
"He'll have the number one on his car next season but he can rest assured of one thing, we'll be doing our very best to put it back on a Ferrari," said Di Montezemolo.
However, Di Montezemolo was gracious in defeat, accepting that Hamilton was a worthy world champion after his narrow victory on Sunday.
He stated: "I would like to send my congratulations to Lewis, the youngest world champion.
"He was a very powerful rival and his win was well deserved."
Ferrari had thought the title was heading their way as Hamilton trailed in sixth position on the final lap.
With Massa winning in Brazil, Hamilton needed to finish in the top five in Interlagos.
The McLaren driver passed Toyota's Timo Glock as they came out of the final corner and grabbed the crucial fifth position.
And Di Montezemolo admitted he felt desperately sorry for Brazilian Massa, who came so close to clinching the title on Sunday.
"Felipe is in my thoughts, I can only imagine how painful that moment must have been for him," he said.
"However, I would like to give him my very special compliments, not only for dominating the running out there on the track in front of his fans and for proving he is worthy indeed of the world title but also for his maturity and sportsmanship off the track. He's a great champion and a great man."
I think over the next few months I will make it abundantly clear what I am doing and why I'm doing it
In the aftermath of Hamilton's victory, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has hinted that he might soon move aside as head of the team.
"Nothing that will unfold over the next few months will be as a result of yesterday," he said on Monday.
"You are most definitely going to see me at grands prix, it is something I like too much to take it out of my life.
"But I think over the next few months I will make it abundantly clear what I am doing and why I'm doing it."