SAO PAULO, Nov 22, 2012 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa have more reason than most to revel in the unique atmosphere of Interlagos this weekend and stir up memories of their dramatic duel for glory in arguably the most
thrilling championship climax of modern times.
Like Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso on Sunday, both had a chance to win the 2008 title, Briton Hamilton in his second season with McLaren and Massa for Ferrari in front of his own passionate Brazilian fans.
At the finish, Massa crossed the line as victor amid emotional scenes with his team and family breaking into tears of joy.
But they could not be certain that he had taken the title because Hamilton, needing to finish fifth, was mounting a bold last-lap charge in the gloomy conditions.
Rain was falling as he went into the last section of the final lap, nearly half a minute after Massa had crossed the line, but more drama unfolded as Hamilton managed to catch and pass German Timo Glock, driving for Toyota, and take fifth place within a few hundred metres of the flag.
His fifth-placed finish enabled him to win the title, beating the luckless Massa by a single point.
Rarely has there been such down-to-the-wire drama at the end of any other Formula One season.