Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Last-Lap Lewis

British phenom Lewis Hamilton, the 23-year-old Tiger Woods of Formula 1 auto racing, blew the '07 F-1 title during the international circuit's final race in Brazil. This season, he nearly repeated this infamous feat. Hamilton, the first black driver in Formula 1 history, entered the final race with a comfortable seven-point advantage over Brazil's Felipe Massa. So even if Massa happened to win the São Paulo race, Hamilton would just have to finish fifth or better to clinch the championship. Massa led throughout, but Hamilton hung back comfortably in fifth, playing it safe. Then, with just five laps to go, it started raining, causing Hamilton and the other leaders to take a pit stop to get rain tires. Germany's Timo Glock went for broke and did not pit, moving into fourth with two laps left, leaving Hamilton in sixth and out of title contention. But on the last lap, the Brit caught Glock at the final corner to finish fifth. He broke the heart of the 100,000 Brazilians wildly cheering for their man Massa, who teared up after it was over. "I was almost exploding," Hamilton said. "I don't know how I kept my cool. I don't know how I did it."