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It all goes wrong for Hamilton in Brazil 21 Oct 2007

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mclaren and Father Anthony after the race. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes on the podium
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal speaks to the media after the race
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007

It should have been straightforward. Stay out of trouble and stay in touch with his title rivals. That’s all Lewis Hamilton had to do to become world champion. But things went wrong from the very start for the British rookie.

Passed first by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and then by McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso in the opening turns, Hamilton fought back - some would say unnecessarily - running wide in the process and dropping to eighth place.

That in itself would not have been disastrous. But temporary gearbox gremlins on lap eight were. He lost drive - and around 40 seconds as a result - dropping virtually to the back of the field before the fault fixed itself.

The team switched him to a three-stop strategy to make up some of the lost time, but despite some searing laps and some do-or-die overtakes, it simply wasn’t enough. Hamilton trailed home seventh, powerless to prevent Raikkonen stealing the drivers’ crown that had so nearly been his.

"Obviously I am pretty disappointed with the result today, having lead for so much of the season and then not to win the championship,” said Hamilton. “However I have to put the result into perspective, this is only my first year in Formula One and overall it has just been phenomenal. I am still very young and have plenty more years in me to achieve my dream of becoming world champion.”

There was disappointment for Alonso too, who had no answer to the pace of the two Ferraris, hence losing out on his chance of a third successive drivers’ crown. He and Hamilton thus finished the season level on 109 points, the latter taking second in the standings by virtue of more second places.

“I predicted at the start of the season that it was going to be very close and that it would come down to the race here in Brazil, I just hoped that it would have been in my favour, but that is not the case and I just have to accept that for this year,” said Alonso.

“It was a difficult race for me. During the first laps, I thought I was able to match the Ferraris’ speed; however, when they began pushing they were just too fast. Our car was fast and competitive throughout the year and I won four races. I am still satisfied with this season."

Having lost out on both constructors’ and drivers’ crowns to arch rivals Ferrari, McLaren boss Ron Dennis summed up his team’s difficult year, saying: “We as a team can only feel very proud of all our achievements this season and the way in which we have conducted ourselves.

“To come into this championship showdown with two drivers both with a chance of winning is a testament to all the hard work and dedication everybody in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has put in throughout this difficult year. We would like to congratulate Kimi on his achievement today."