Felipe Massa did all he could in the Brazilian Grand Prix with a brilliant win at Interlagos, but in the most dramatic fashion possible, Lewis Hamilton secured his maiden Formula One title.
Massa led the race in its entirety while Hamilton was able to run inside the top five throughout and looked well set to secure the points needed to secure the title.
However, in the closing stages, a rain shower led to the front-runners diving for the pits to switch to wet tyres – but crucially Timo Glock elected to stay on track.
That left Massa leading from Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Glock, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel but with Vettel lapping quicker than the McLaren ahead.
When Hamilton ran wide with just a matter of laps remaining, Vettel took fifth and suddenly the title was heading Massa's way – but the rain was increasing.
It left Hamilton needing to pass Vettel to secure the crown but as Massa took the flag and Ferrari prepared to celebrate, Glock was struggling in the wet conditions and both Vettel and Hamilton were closing in.
As the race winner effectively placed one hand onto the trophy, Vettel and Hamilton suddenly caught Glock's Toyota and with less than a quarter of a lap remaining, both went through to put Hamilton back into fifth place and make him the youngest driver to secure the Formula One title.
"It's impossible to put it into words," he told ITV
. "It's been such a long journey with a lot of support from home and the team has done a fantastic job all season.
"Before it started to rain, I was comfortable but then it started to drizzle and I didn't want to take any risks. Vettel got past me and the team told me I had to try and pass him but then on the final lap I managed to get past Glock and I couldn't believe it – I can only thank God.
"That was one of the toughest races of my life – if not the toughest."
Massa was joined on the podium by Alonso and outgoing champion Raikkonen, while Vettel and Hamilton took fourth and fifth.
Despite his slow final lap, Glock was able to hold onto sixth, while Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli completed the points scorers.
For David Coulthard however, the final race of a long Formula One career ended in disappointment when he was tagged into a spin by Nico Rosberg exiting turn one at the start and clipped the sister Williams of Kazuki Nakajima – forcing the Red Bull Racing man out on the spot.
Full report to follow...