In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we rewind back to the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton returns to Interlagos as a six time champion 11 years after sealing his first F1 title around this track.
Heading into the race, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton led title rival, Felipe Massa by seven points who knew that he needed a home win to realistically stand a chance at the title, whereas Hamilton needed at least a fifth-placed finish regardless of whatever Massa did to seal the title.
QualifyingEmbed from Getty Images
Massa dominated qualifying to take pole position ahead of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli and Ferrari teammate – Kimi Raikkonen, whilst Hamilton could only qualify fourth and 0.462s down on his title rival
Fellow Brazilian home favourites, Nelson Piquet Jr and Rubens Barrichello qualified in P11 and 15 respectively.
David Coulthard meanwhile qualified in P14 for his last ever Grand Prix, having announced his retirement earlier in the year.
This was definitely not going to be a typical Grand Prix when the heavens opened with just four until the start, which resulted in a ten minute delay as everyone but Robert Kubica switched to wet tyres.
Once the race commenced with the formation lap, Kubica found himself forced to pit for wets, and therefore starting from the pits and avoiding a first corner collision which sadly ended Coulthard’s final race after he got hit by the Williams pair of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima.Embed from Getty Images
Nelson Piquet Jr then spun off at Turn Two to bring out the Safety Car before the track began to dry, with Massa firmly clear out in front and only conceded the lead briefly during both pit windows.
Hamilton meanwhile was sat in fourth which was enough for the title until light rain arrived just eight laps from the finish, forcing several drivers to pit again whilst Timo Glock stayed out on track on dry tyres until the checkered flag.
Glock’s decision saw him rise to fourth whilst Hamilton lost out in a tussle with Sebastian Vettel, leaving him out of position and on course to again blow the title at Interlagos for a second consecutive season but this time by virtue of five wins to Massa’s six.
The rain then began to rapidly increase its intensity as Hamilton began the final lap still in sixth, as Massa crossed the line to win his home race and seemingly the title as Ferrari exploded in celebrations.
There is however a saying – ‘It ain’t over until it’s over.’ which perfectly summed up one of the most epic sporting twists ever as Glock began to struggle, which was famously picked up by ITV commentator – Martin Brundle who shouted “Is that Glock?” as Hamilton rapidly closed in on the German whose tyres were shot.
Hamilton then completed a stunning move on Glock to snatch fifth at the final corner of the final race of the 2008 season, which he held to the line to seal what has proved to be the first of six titles by a single point.
Fernando Alonso and Raikkonen meanwhile joined a heartbroken Massa on the podium, as the Brazilian battled the emotions of missing out on the title coupled with the joy of winning his home race in dominant style.
It certainly proved to be an amazing race and this weekend sees Hamilton return as a six time World Champion who has smashed loads of F1 records since that incredible day.