Kimi Raikkonen snatched the 2007 world championship title from the McLaren drivers' grasp by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.
Pre-race points leader Lewis Hamilton had a disastrous afternoon - dropping from second on the grid to fourth by the first corner, then going off the road further around the lap. He then lost 40 seconds when his McLaren briefly cut out, and could only recover to seventh.
Fernando Alonso finished a distant third, having had no answer for the Ferraris' pace.
Raikkonen swept ahead of Hamilton off the line at the start of the race, and as the Briton lost momentum his McLaren teammate Alonso was able to slip through on the inside at the Senna S.
Hamilton tried to retaliate into the Descida do Lago corner, only to lock a brake and run wide onto the run-off area, falling to eighth place.
Eight laps later Hamilton's hopes were dealt an even worse blow when his McLaren suddenly slowed. It got back up to speed further around the circuit, but by that time he had fallen right down to 18th position.
At the front, the Ferraris pulled away from Alonso with ease. Massa appeared to have the edge over Raikkonen, and led by as much as three seconds.
But in the middle of the race Raikkonen crept closer to his teammate, and after running three laps longer in the second pit sequence the Finn was able to jump ahead of Massa and into the first position he required.
Hamilton mounted a gallant recovery drive, and tried the strategic gamble of switching to a three-stop strategy with a very short stint on the unpopular supersoft tyres. Although he made rapid progress through the midfield cars, he needed to finish fifth with Raikkonen on course to win the race, and lacked the speed to catch the top six runners.
Alonso was never in contention for victory, lapping up to a second slower than the two Ferraris. He briefly fell to fourth when passed by charging three-stopper Robert Kubica, but regained the final podium spot when the BMW pitted for the final time. It was to no avail, however, as Raikkonen's win was sufficient to overturn Alonso's three-point advantage.
Raikkonen cemented his victory by setting a new fastest lap with just five laps remaining. He eased away from Massa to clinch his sixth win of 2007 and his first world title in seven years of trying.
Nico Rosberg charged to fourth for Williams, despite almost tangling with Nick Heidfeld while battling the BMW for the place with 11 laps to go. Both ran extremely wide and let Heidfeld's teammate Kubica through, but Rosberg was able to catch the Pole again and grab fourth on the penultimate lap.
The lapped Hamilton moved up to seventh when Jarno Trulli (Toyota) made a late final stop and fell to eighth, but the result meant that the Briton ended up second in the championship that he had led for the last five months.
Rosberg's fourth place secured Williams' fourth place in the constructors' championship as neither Red Bull scored. Mark Webber retired from fifth early on, while David Coulthard could only manage ninth.
Williams' newcomer Kazuki Nakajima finished 10th on his Formula One debut, but his race was marred when he slid into his pit crew at his first stop, leaving two mechanics with minor injuries.
Last year's champions Renault had a disastrous season finale. Both Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen suffered damage in the opening laps - Fisichella being violently collected by Spyker's Sakon Yamamoto after running across the grass at the Senna S.
Kovalainen continued with a new wing after his first corner incident, but later had a heavy crash at Turn 3.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil; 71 laps; 305.909km; Weather: Dry and sunny. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1h28:15.270 2. Massa Ferrari (B) + 1.493 3. Alonso McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 57.019 4. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 1:02.848 5. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 1:10.957 6. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 1:11.317 7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 1 Lap 8. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1 Lap 9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1 Lap 10. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 1 Lap 11. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) + 1 Lap 12. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) + 2 Laps 13. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 2 Laps 14. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) + 3 Laps Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:12.445 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Sutil Spyker-Ferrari (B) 43 Barrichello Honda (B) 40 Kovalainen Renault (B) 35 Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 34 Button Honda (B) 20 Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 14 Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari (B) 2 Fisichella Renault (B) 2 World Championship standings, round 17: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Raikkonen 110 1. Ferrari 204 2. Hamilton 109 2. BMW Sauber 101 3. Alonso 109 3. Renault 51 4. Massa 94 4. Williams-Toyota 33 5. Heidfeld 61 5. Red Bull-Renault 24 6. Kubica 39 6. Toyota 13 7. Kovalainen 30 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8 8. Fisichella 21 8. Honda 6 9. Rosberg 20 9. Super Aguri-Honda 4 10. Coulthard 14 10. Spyker-Ferrari 1 11. Wurz 13 11. McLaren-Mercedes - 12. Webber 10 13. Trulli 8 14. Vettel 6 15. Button 6 16. R.Schumacher 5 17. Sato 4 18. Liuzzi 3 19. Sutil 1 All timing unofficial
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th