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Raikkonen takes F1 title after Brazil GP win
October 21, 2007 23:26 IST
Last Updated: October 22, 2007 01:12 IST
The Finn's unexpected title triumph ended 22-year-old Briton Hamilton's bid to become the youngest champion in his debut season with McLaren.
Hamilton finished seventh while team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso [Images], in what may prove to be his last race for McLaren, was a forlorn third and 57 seconds behind the winning Ferrari.
Raikkonen, the third Finnish Formula One world champion after Keke Rosberg (1982) and Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999), ended the season with 110 points to Hamilton and Alonso's 109.
Hamilton, who had started the race as title favourite with a four-point lead over Alonso and an advantage of seven to Raikkonen, endured a nightmare afternoon in the Interlagos sunshine.
Starting on the front row, he had dropped to eighth at the end of the first lap after running wide as Alonso forced his way through and Ferrari settled into a one-two pattern with Brazilian Felipe Massa [Images] leading from pole.
The Briton then slowed dramatically eight laps later and plunged to 18th place, leaving him fighting a desperate rearguard battle to claw his way back into the points.
Alonso, his hopes of becoming the first driver to win back-to-back titles with different teams hanging by a thread, could not match the Ferraris' searing pace.
Massa, who had put his Ferrari on pole position and led for most of the first 50 laps, was overtaken by Raikkonen as expected during the second round of pitstops to hand the Finn the title-clinching win.
Raikkonen, usually impassive on the podium, showed rare emotion after one of Formula One's great comebacks.
The Finn, runner-up in 2003 and 2005, had been 17 points behind Hamilton with two races remaining and was the outsider in the first three-way title showdown since 1986.
Raikkonen's triumph brought the curtain down on one of the most controversial seasons in Formula One history and handed Ferrari the drivers' title in addition to the constructors' championship.
McLaren would have won that title had they not been stripped of all their points for a spying controversy as well as being docked 15 for a pole position furore in August.
Raikkonen's joy left his former team still chasing their first title since 1999.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage