Scene of “is that Glock?” and the Renault ‘Crashgate’ scandal, Lewis Hamilton celebrated the first of his seven Championships in similarly dramatic circumstances to his modern rival Max Verstappen – albeit without the amplification of today’s social media attention.
Points were awarded to the top eight in those days, back when Ferrari and McLaren were the paddock’s heavyweight garages. Singapore became F1’s first night race and fifth street track, with that year’s European Grand Prix held in Valencia
As Hamilton eyes an eighth championship in 2023, let’s look back at the grid full of icons and cult heroes he beat in 2008 and what they have been up to since.
“Is that Glock? Is that Glock going slowly?” Martin Brundle shouted through our television screens as Hamilton moved into fifth place on the final corner of the F1 2008 season in Brazil, sealing the four points required to make history.
The Hertfordshire-born star became F1’s first black World Champion inside two years of his debut, winning five of the 18 rounds that year in a fierce battle with Felipe Massa.
Hamilton’s world-beating talent was obvious but nobody could have predicted he’d later match Michael Schumacher for titles and build a convincing case that he the sport’s greatest ever driver.
The Briton stayed at McLaren for four more seasons without being able to break Sebastian Vettel’s dominance, before Ross Brawn convinced him to make a shock transfer to the emerging Mercedes team. Fast-forward a decade and the veteran seven-time champion remains at the German team, gearing up for a title tilt in 2023.
While Hamilton celebrated, it was heartbreak in the Ferrari garage and Felipe Massa’s cockpit. He had glory snatched from him on the final lap, even after storming to a home victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
One of the iconic images from that November day was Massa’s podium celebration: striding to the platform edge with tears in his eyes, beating his chest and pointing to the crowd. His dignity in defeat has not been forgotten in Formula 1.
Massa came within one point of the championship but never got close again. In 2009, he was struck on the helmet by a loose suspension spring while driving 200mph during qualifying for the Hungarian GP, knocking him unconscious and shunting him into the barriers with an already-fractured skull.
Incredibly, Massa recovered in time for the 2010 season but would never win another Grand Prix, as Ferrari’s pace declined and the Brazilian was largely second fiddle to Fernando Alonso, before he moved to Williams in 2014.
Since retiring from F1 in 2017 he has raced in Formula E and continues to compete at the age of 41 in Brazilian Stock Cars. He was appointed chairman of the FIA’s Drivers’ Commission by president Mohammed Ben Sulayem last year.