Hamilton wins the 2008 F1 title and becomes youngest world champion

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Hamilton broke Alonso's record to become F1's youngest world champion

Lewis Hamilton has won the 2008 F1 world championship after finishing fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton has become the youngest ever driver to win the F1 world championship. Aged 23 years and 301 days, he has beaten Fernando Alonso’s record of 24 years 59 days which was set in 2005.

Hamilton is the ninth different British driver to win the world championship and his is the 13th title win by a British driver:

Countries’ champions

1. Britain 13 (Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill (2), Jim Clark (2), John Surtees, Jackie Stewart (3), James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton)
2. Brazil 8 (Emerson Fittipaldi (2), Nelson Piquet (3), Ayrton Senna (3))
3. Germany 7 (Michael Schumacher)
4. Argentina 5 (Juan Manuel Fangio)
=5. Australia 4 (Jack Brabham (3), Alan Jones)
=5. Austria 4 (Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda (3))
=5. France 4 (Alain Prost)
=5. Finland 4 (Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen (2), Kimi Raikkonen)
9. Italy 3 (Giuseppi Farina, Alberto Ascari (2))
=10. United States 2 (Phil Hill, Mario Andretti)
=10. Spain 2 (Fernando Alonso)
=12. New Zealand 1 (Denny Hulme)
=12. South Africa 1 (Jody Scheckter)
=12. Canada 1 (Jacques Villeneuve)

McLaren’s champions

Hamilton is the seventh different driver to win a world championship for McLaren, joining Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen. The seven won 12 drivers’ titles in total for McLaren.

But Hamilton is only the second British driver to win a title for McLaren – the first being Hunt.

Lewis Hamilton biography

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “Hamilton wins the 2008 F1 title and becomes youngest world champion”

  1. Wow!! Anyone got a Valium?

  2. Anyone with a spare heart?

  3. What a race, almost got a heart attack in the end,
    Spare a thought for the poor man though. Almost lost it twice in a row :P

    Congratulations Hamilton!!

  4. Congratulations to Hamilton and McLaren Mercedes, and to this great site… Cheers from Mexico City

  5. Wow what an end. It came down to the last corner to decide the champion.

    Must of been very hard for Massa to put in a perfect peformance but it coming down Glock putting in a bad lap.

    Not fan of Hamilton but he did a good job to win the championship.

  6. Fantastic championship, fantastic last race, fantastic last lap. I’m bitterly disappointed with the result, after all we would have been champion hadn’t it rained, but Hamilton deserved the title anyway… The point is: we in Brazil certainly have a great driver to support again… Congratulations for all of you British fans!

  7. In this moment of extreme sorrow and heartbrake for myself and many Ferrari supporters (likewise hamilton haters) worldwide I would like to announce my resignation of posting.
    It was an exciting, heartstopping race, Massa did everything I could possibly ask of him, simply superb. Kimi did everything he needed to, I was over the moon with his performance and likewise fantastic efforts by Alonso and Vettel.
    However, it was Glock who truly ruined, no, destroyed the weekend for all of us.
    I feel Massa’s pain now, I feel Ferrari’s pain right now and on this rather upsetting bombshell I would like to bid farewell to you all.

    Thankyou Keith for an amazing website, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on here and would like to say you have done some amazing stories. Maybe I will see you all in the new season,
    Best Regards, Amy

  8. Congratulations to Hamilton.

    I was on the phone to a mate because I couldn’t watch it after Vettel overtook Hamilton, but I turned round when Massa crossed the line and then I saw an unsightly slow Toyota and my heart dropped. Although it is moments such as the last 5 laps of this race which define what sport is.

    Gutted for Massa and Ferrari, but Hamilton has more points on curtain close, and is WDC for 2008.

  9. it’s a shame it happened to massa cos i think he’s a nice bloke but
    for all the hate that lewis has had from racist idiots the past two years, well it
    was the most sweetest of moments.

    i will watch the last lap for years to come and never forget how good that moment was.

    nice one lewis!!!!!

  10. Congratulations to Lewis, commiserations to Felipe.

    Interesting to note the Trulli and Glock, the only 2 drivers on dry tyres posted identical lap times on the last lap. No question of the championship being thrown – if they’d put wet tyres on, Glock wouldn’t have been ahead of Hamilton in the 1st place.

    Cracking end to the season. Here’s hoping for similar excitement with less controversy next year.

  11. So, off the the gold medal idea for next season, then? ;)

  12. Phew!!! Hugely delighted for Lewis, my nerves are in tatters. Good point about Trulli and Glock having identical last lap time as they were on dry tyres, so Lewis critics won’t have any foundation for saying he is undeserving. He won the championship against the rest of the paddock and the FIA. Commiserations to Massa, it was a hard fought battle and a very exciting season. Bring on next season!

  13. Massive LOLs at the Massa family’s premature celebrations then looks of horror as the Ferrari mechanic tells them that Hamilton finished 5th. Best footage of the season.

  14. Just utter elation. Indescribable.

    Get the DVD and show it proudly to your grandchildren.

  15. What an amazing end to the F1 season, an hour later im still in shock. Hats off to Ferrari and i do feel their pain but Lewis and Mclaren do deserve the win, ive never witnessed anything like the last 5 laps. 2 laps from the end i was in tears not knowing Glock was on dry tyres and slowing down then when Lewis passed him i was in tears of happiness. I do believe Lewis should of won in his first year even more the reason why he deserves the WDC this yeah.

  16. Kudos though, to Felipe Massa for being such a gracious and dignified loser in the press conference. I’m sure he’d be delighted to know that my respect for him has grown immeasurably over the season, especially after the way he carried himself at the end of the race.

  17. One of the most heartwrenching race finishes I have ever seen in Formula One, an absolute classic race that will be played over the internet for many years to come.
    I congratulate Lewis Hamilton and McLaren on their fantastic achievement, and how sweet it must taste to them after last year’s disasterous finish. You have to feel sorry though, for Felipe Massa.
    I have been very critical of the FIA this season, and have, on more than one occasion, suggested an element of bias exists between the FIA and Ferrari. My feelings however for Ferrari, do not extend to the drivers themselves. Felipe Massa did all that could be asked of him today, and was totally dominant the whole weekend. In the end, it was sadly not enough for him, it was just a bridge too far.
    On the flipside of that argument, is Lewis Hamilton’s season. In some instances it seemed he was doing his best to destroy his chances for the championship. Bahrain, France, Canada, were all examples of mistakes by Hamilton coming back to hurt him, and then there was Spa.
    The decisions made at Spa by the stewards made up ‘my’ mind on who I should, and would, support. That man was Lewis Hamilton. The penalty in Japan that followed only strengthened my support, and, in many ways, the guilty have been punished. In the end, you just cannot tame raw talent, no matter how many penalties you can impose.
    I am sorry for Felipe Massa, but I am not sorry for Ferrari. The young Brazilian has more graciousness, more dignity, than Luca DeMontezemolo and the FIA put together. Because, in the end, they are not why we love this sport of ours. We love it for the drivers, for when then win and lose, for the different emotions. Today, mine are of pure joy. For Hamilton, vindication!! RULE BRITTIANIA.

  18. I’ve lost my voice! I think i’m recovering from a heart attack but what a race! What an end to a season!

    Regardless of the result I think we’ve all just witnessed what could quite possibly be the most exciting end to an F1 season ever or to come!!!

    F1 Boring????? My @SS its boring!


  19. Come on Keith, you know the drill: “Lewis Hamilton lucks into maiden championship”.

  20. Lewis, you have made me the happiest person alive … apart from maybe yourself, your family and your team. My God, you deserved it. I think I’ve lost my voice though.

  21. Superb stuff Lewis Hamilton! Just far too intense! Far too cruel on Felipe Massa. But Lewis deserved the championship for this seasons best performances, bar none, combining skill, courage and audacity often against the odds, and despite some surreal FIA decisions: in particular his driving at Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Monza. Felipe was a superb contender and he’ll be strong next year, no doubt. Brazil should be proud.

    But Lewis Hamilton, Youngest Ever Formula 1 World Champion. Delicious to write.

  22. WOWEE! I wasnt able to watch the whole race, due to a meeting, but I watched the beginning, checked in from time to time on the live timing and then caught the last 5 or six laps, where all the excitement happened anyway. HOLY CRAP what a last couple laps. I was dying there, screaming at the tv for Hamilton to take it to Vettel and then it happened, Glock lost it and everything was right again. GREAT finish in terms of excitement, but I never want to have to go through that again.

    As for Amy…sorry you feel that Glock completely destroyed your weekend. He did the best he could and had he pitted for tires he wouldnt have been in that place anyway, so you really can’t blame him for trying! The title was certainly not thrown by Toyota on purpose. BTW – hate is such a strong word. I severely dislike Alonso, but I certainly dont HATE him. Every one of those drives has some sort of chip on their sholder, some just get more press time to show it off than others. I cant believe that Shumacher got away with as much as he did, in much the same form and so called ‘arrogance’ as Hamilton, but he is regarded as one of the best, if not THE best to ever drive a F1 car. But when it comes to a young upstart kid being trown inot the mix of a world championship, all of a sudden the world hates on him…Get over it people. hes a great driver and has a great car. But I digress….

    Phenomenal job by Massa today. He is a great guy from what I can tell an I, NOT being a Ferrari fan, felt really bad for him as you could see he was on the verge of tears after pulling his car home in P1. It just wasnt his day. He truly is a great competitor and he won the race with style, losing the WDC with that same style. Congrats to Ferrari for their constructors championship, congrats to Massa for the win today, but most of all congrats to Hamilton for keeping a level head and seeing it through to the end today to claim his first (hopefully of many) WD Championship titles. Well deserved, especially with the controversial stewards calls this year.

    Here’s to next year being just as exciting as it appears that Renault is going to be right up there with the red and silver cars in 2k9.

  23. FIA pwned by Timo Glock:

    This season the FIA’s actions has been getting on my nerve,
    I mean if you’re going to help a team, fine, that’s life, but at least try to make it less obvious and less damaging to the sport itself.
    There are people like me who watch F1 to watch skillful drivers compete, not to watch “authorities” bending rules.
    If the FIA want to micromanage, fine as well, they can write every single details clearly down into the rule book.
    Either you control things clearly or don’t control at all and let things settle themselves.

    What goes around comes around, you cheat for too long thinking nobody can get you and eventually a better cheater comes along.

    I consider what Glock did in the last lap was one of the best way to give a nice warm **** You’s to FIA and Ferrari

    The FIA has been hitting below the belt for way too long and it’s time for some justice.

    In the next 6 months, I look forward to hear the Ferrari hypocrites fan boys activate their mental block mechanism, exercise their selective memory and cry “Cheater”, forgetting how hard the FIA has been trying to give the WDC to Ferrari.

    Ferrari and most of its fans live on this fictional moral high horse, they are like spoilt little children who got used to having everything their way that’s why they can’t handle losing.

    Have fun attacking my points, I totally understand the Ferrari fan boy’s mentality
    I mean, if someone’s into F1 just to look for heroes, decided to be a Ferrari fan boy just to feel superior, what else are those little cry babies going to say when the team loses?
    Their brains are not wired to accept reality or to notice other team/people’s skills and they are not wired to appreciate the sport as a whole.
    So I’ll consider all their knee-jerk reactions normal and expected behavior.

    Glock is god, FIA/Ferrari beaten in their own little cheating game.

    The end.

  24. I just read ade’s comment and I wholeheartedly agree. Though I am happy for Lewis’ win today, ECSTATIC about it even, it was a bit lucky and really wasnt down to any great display of skill on his part. In no way was this a Silverstone or Shanghai drive. The only way it could have been more exciting today would have been to have him actually tracked down Vettel and taken his spot back….now THAT would have been a finish. The greatest skill that Hamilton showed today was that he does indeed have the ability to keep a level head and push until the ‘fat lady sings’….had he given up at any point in his fight with Vettel, he may not have had the final opportunity to pass Glock at all.

  25. amazing just the best sunday ever. cheers keith i am new to this internet thing but see you next year.

  26. Two things Hamilton acomplished today:
    1 – He is the first winner of junior series just below F1 to win WDC.
    2 – He is also the first WDC winner under the current point system who would have lose it under the older one.

  27. All hail Lewis.

    The footnote to this race, if we need any further proof, is that Sebastian Vettel is for real. And there is a seat in a silver car badly needing a guy who turns up on Sundays.

  28. brilliant finish and congrats to hamilton but i’ve got to feel for massa drove brilliantly. My heart nearly broke my ribs in the last lap.

  29. DMW, but does that silver car really want someone that might actually race on sunday?

  30. Congratulatios to Lewis. I can die now… What a magnificent spectacle it was!!! I’m a bit disapointed for Kubica, but that’s been racing at its best from all the drivers through all the season… The only question is what am I going to till the end of march. Bravissimo Hamilton again! Over and out…

  31. Don’t say that DMW, we’ve got a German shaped hole at Ferrari that Mr Vettel will hopefully be filling in a few years time :~)

    Absolutely gutted for Felipe & his family, to be so close only to have it taken away a few seconds later must be terrible.

    Congratulations to Lewis, he drove well most of the season & managed to overcome some very questionable decisions from the FIA to win his first Championship.

    I just hope next season is as good as this one has been.

  32. Congrats to Lewis, even though his race wasn’t exactly stunning.

    My heart hit its rev limiter a few times during the race, but it was all worth it in the end.

    It was also very good to see Ferrari and the FIA beaten, the winner this year really was Formula One.

    The Ferrari garage might want to check the final results classification before celebrating too much too.

    And goodbye Amy (#7), I’m glad Timo Glock has a very special place in your heart.

  33. I think Hamilton and Vettel would be great. Seb would be on the pace and I think each would push the other to produce their best

  34. Thinking that Lewis is black belt, Kubica must be thankfull Glock was on wrong tyres, (thinking back to Senna`s reaction on being unlapped near the end of a race), Unlucky to the Ferrari B-Team, you nearly pulled it off ;-). Your never see a unhappier Ferrari One, Two, Three on the podium again. And nothing but Congratulations to Lewis, you showed it aint over till the fat lady sings.

  35. Congrats Hamilton! Dramatic ending, this is what F1 is about! A sweet WDC for Hamilton after having ten thousand penalties hurled at him, including that monstrous Spa decision.

    Terrific drive by Massa, I hand it to the guy maybe i was giving a bit too much slack. The real victor this year was hamilton and F1.

  36. WOW ! Was there ever such a close finish to a WDC? Where it literally came down to metres as to who would be champion?

    Congrats to Hamilton, it was an amazing victory and all the sweeter because FIA-ARRARI tried their best to prevent it from happening. I was a bit aprehensive logging on this morning, I was sure I’d see that the results had been fiddled yet again. Thank god that hasn’t happened (so far).

    I do feel sorry for Massa, he drove a great race, and to have had one hand on the trophy like that must have been gutwrenching.

    Gahhhh, I’ve just realised that there are nearly five months until the season starts again. I can’t wait that long !

  37. Must admit I did feel a tinge of sadness for Felipe and the Brazilian Crowd, shame we cant have our cake and eat it!

  38. Good point Pink Peril, what time does the scrutineering end?

  39. Hey Massa there is no crying in F1! Guess having the race stewarts and King Bernie on your side doesn’t mean you are a shoe in for the drivers championship. Best video moment of the season, the Massa family celebrating his “championship” until the ferari mechanics had to tell them Ham finished 5th I am still laughing!!!!!!!!! GO MCLAREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. oh my god i am just so happy today. unbelievable stuff. what happened today is pure magic. from now on i will believe that never count anyone out until the bell has rang.

    oh my god.

    congratulations to lewis,to massa well just chilll hahahahhahha yep…

  41. @Filipe
    Well very interesting observation, but at the same time, while the old points system was being used, the stewards were not influencing the results as they are now, so Hamilton would probably have kept the Spa win and finish 5 pts ahead.

    Congratulations to Mclaren, after all they’ve been through, I think they truly deserve this win.

    Kubica almost cost Mclaren the championship. He seemed to overtake Hamilton and pause momentarily.

    In all was a very wicked outcome, unfortunately we can’t have 2 winners.

    The tension was just so much, I’m just numb. We all had a feeling Lewis might win it, but we were still surprised that he did.

  42. I don’t think its nice to laugh at anyone. I had no relative on the track, well none that I know of, but I can imagine how overwhelming the prevailing circumstance must have been for the families at the circuit.

  43. michael counsell
    2nd November 2008, 22:25

    Great race. Mclaren and Hamilton were a bit too conservative but just about pulled it off. His Dad needs to give him a bit more space though…

    Massa drove a great race and was really dignified and appreciative. He did everything in his power but he knew all along that all he could do was win and he did, whiel Hmailton did all he needed too. You could not have scripted it.

  44. Congratulations to Hamilton.
    I am an spanish fan, huge Alonso fan, and after all the things that happened (or did not happen) between them, all the scandals with the spanish press, etc, well… well done Lewis.
    He won because he was the fastest in most cases, as simple as that.
    And thanks to all the guys and the weather for a rollercoaster race. Even my girlfriend enjoyed the race thanks to all the drama!
    I just read a lot of comments from Spain (ooops, it nearly makes me a bit ashamed of being spanish) with conspiracy theories about Timo Glock, it doesn’t sink easy that Hamilton… well… was very fast all year. Anybody who does not understand what happened to Timo Glock in the last lap makes it very clear how much they like and follow F1.
    Great race!
    Congrats Lewis!

  45. Oliver, I was not trying to diminish Hamilton’s win at all. It’s obviously be much different had we be under the old system (including he being much more agressive today). It’s just a fun stat and it had to happen someday.

  46. I am just so glad the Massa didn’t win with a margin that could have been accounted for by the Bourdais/Fuji penalty. I didn’t agree with the Spa penalty but have accepted it as a marginal call and moved on. The Bourdais incident is a completely different matter though. It was a terrible penalty and I would have been disgusted if those points alone allowed Massa to take the title.

  47. In spite of the FIA, officialdom, and his own team’s tactical blunders, he pulled it off. I enjoyed this more than any championship since Piquet won in ’83. This is why I stick with the sport, even after all of the crap of the last couple of years. I still think the FIA is biased, and the people running the sport just don’t get it, but it’s races like this one that make it all worthwhile.

    Congrats to Lewis, Felipe and even Ron!

  48. Lustigson – I’m still pro-medals :-)

    Ade –

    Kudos though, to Felipe Massa for being such a gracious and dignified loser in the press conference.

    Hear, hear.

    Throttle – Where was the luck then?

    Gaz – Glad you’ve enjoyed it. I’m not shutting up shop for the winter though, we’ve an intriguing off-season ahead…

    DMW –

    The footnote to this race, if we need any further proof, is that Sebastian Vettel is for real.

    Good point. And, Alonso will surely be in a Renault next year, and could well be facing down his arch-rival who now has the number one on his car…

  49. Hip Hip Hooray!!!! The best man has won!!! Now I have to go and nurse myself back to health after a near heart attack. Phew! That was close. Well done Lewis, you so deserve the little bit of luck you received today and well done to Massa for being so gracious in defeat as everyone has mentioned. What a thrilling end to a tense season.

  50. schumi the greatest
    3rd November 2008, 9:02

    unbelievable, it was as though it was scripted. after over 1500 laps of racing it came down to the final corner to decide the championship.

    when vettel went past my heart was pounding so fast i thought it was going to break through my chest lol il never forget brundle’s words: “is that glock oing slowly…it is..thats glock”

    the most intense end to any sporting event ever…well done to hamilton the guy is pure class…and its good to see that even when he becomes a world champion he didnt forget his family and team.

    massa has gone up in my estimations this year, he is a top line driver but hes also a dignified loser, the pictures of him crying after show just how much he wanted it. im sure hel get another chance.

    also…even alonso crongratulated hamilton in an interview with itv

  51. Wow what a finish to the championship. I was a bag of nerves throughout the race. Then when Vettel passed Hamilton I was cursing the FIA because it looked like the Spa and Fuji penalties would decide the championship. But then the complete turn around in emotions in the last few corners when Hamilton passed Glock is what sport is all about.

  52. MASSA IS A SPORTING LOSER MY ASS! He was implying all week before the race how he would be a worthy champion – that this title was clean if he had clinched it.

    Wat the hell is he thinking? Did he forget how his points tally got a few automatic top-ups from FIA and Mosley thru zero efforts of his own? Crying at the end of the race was his acknowledgment that even with FIA’s help, he couldnt win the title.

    That said, i hope the stewards get their retribution for being corrupt Ferrari boot-lickers. And Mosley for his well, Hitler impersonations on tape.

  53. Thank goodness justice has been served…

  54. Congratulations to Hamilton for a great season. Comisserations to Massa who would also have been deserving also.

    Ecstatic that Ferrari won the WCC though, I have to say

  55. Filipe, point taken as to Vettel. Even McLaren fans must recognize that Dennis would not really favor a driver who is not his protege.

    But Ron must realize that he lost the WCC this year because driver #2 disappeared one too many times. Personally I think Ron should put Trulli or Heidfeld in that car: someone who is quick, consistent, mature, but without an unreasonable sense of championship destiny. You know, Barichello is looking for a job.

  56. DMW, when it started to look that Kovalainen problems were more than lack of luck, I did start to tell friends that if Dennis was smart he would let Heidfeld fullfill his fate and finally got a McLaren seat. So I’d agree that someone like him would be perfect (I’d say Webber would be my #2 choice). Trulli at McLaren is a funny idea, at least we would finally know how real the Trulli train is. Imagine the possibilities: get both McLarens light and let Lewis disappear in front while Trulli does what he does best and Kimi, Massa and Alonso all ends stuck behind him for half the race.

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