Colin Hilton, chief executive of the UK's Motor Sports Association, has paid tribute to Lewis Hamilton after the McLaren Mercedes driver became the youngest man to lift the Formula One drivers' title.

Hamilton finished in fifth place in a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix after stealing the position at the final corner from a struggling Timo Glock, who had elected to stay on dry tyres on a wet track after a late rain shower.

It gave the Briton the title by just a single point as he ensured there was no repeat of the 2007 season finale, when he lost a seven-point lead at Interlagos to hand the drivers' crown to Kimi Raikkonen.

"Lewis' performances since his arrival in Formula One last year have set the world alight," Hilton said, "He has demonstrated his extraordinary talent, commitment and determination to become the youngest ever F1 world champion.

"For those of us who have watched his progress and witnessed his development over more than a decade in the UK's junior formulae, his success comes as no surprise. His path to the top has included all the major stepping stones from karting through to single-seaters, and his championship pedigree has been displayed throughout.

"Lewis' championship is fantastic news for the whole of British motorsport. Nearly half of the current F1 drivers learned their trade in the UK's domestic championships and Lewis' success brings further credibility to the UK as the world's best proving ground for young racing drivers.

"But, even more importantly, Lewis is providing an incredible platform from which to develop motorsport in this country. The British public has been gripped by Lewis' exploits and the sport is enjoying more media coverage than ever before. More and more people, from all kinds of backgrounds, are becoming interested in the sport. The MSA is firmly committed to increasing participation and bringing more people to the exciting world of motor sport, either as competitor, volunteer or official. We are investing heavily in promoting the sport and making it more affordable and accessible to all.

"For today, however, let us delight in Lewis' marvellous achievements and celebrate with him the fact that he has become the UK's ninth F1 world champion."