Grapevine: Hamilton picks up world title award

Lewis Hamilton was officially crowned Formula One World Champion last night at a star-studded FIA Gala Ceremony in Monte Carlo

Grapevine: Hamilton picks up world title award

The McLaren driver collected his trophy in front of leading figures from motorsport and said that he was incredibly proud of all the efforts he and his team had put in over the course of the season.

"This year has been a very special one in my life - the fulfilment of a dream I've had since childhood and an ambition that has taken my family and me on an amazing journey," he said.

"The fact that I won the drivers' world championship on the very last lap of the very last race is something that makes me so proud of our efforts in 2008; we pushed to the limit on every single lap, from Melbourne to Brazil - and it's that determination and spirit that ultimately won us the world title.

"It's always very rewarding to receive recognition for all the work you put into the season and the FIA Prize Giving Gala in Monte-Carlo is of course the fitting venue at which to celebrate all our efforts before we push ahead into 2009."

Hamilton's main rival Felipe Massa also collected his runners-up trophy - and reiterated that he was going to waste little time in wondering what might have been after the last-gasp heartache in Brazil.

"This has been an incredibly closely contested season, which produced an amazing final," said the Ferrari driver. "When you lose the world title by a single point, having had it in your grasp for a handful of seconds, it would be easy to take it badly. But I prefer to look to the future and to see things in a positive light.

"I won six races and played my part in the team taking the constructors' championship, which I know is so important for Ferrari. We are already looking to a new season and I will do my utmost to come back here to Monaco next year to claim the prize which today has gone to Lewis."

Massa's teammate Kimi Raikkonen also vowed to have a much better 2009 season, after struggles throughout this year left him unable to match the consistency of his Brazilian colleague.

"I would have preferred to be here collecting the world champion's trophy for a second consecutive time, but this year things did not go my way. The season got off to a good start, but then, for various reasons, the situation got complicated and by the time we were back on form it was already too late.

"However, we learnt some valuable lessons which will come in useful next year. I am happy that Ferrari won, confirming their position as world champion: it's an exceptional team that never gives up."

Those thoughts were echoed by Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who was in Monaco to collect the constructors' trophy.

"I am honoured to be here, at the end of my first year in charge of the team, to collect the constructors' trophy that goes to the world championship-winning team," he explained. "This is the 16th time in Scuderia Ferrari's history and the eighth in the last ten years that we have won this award and it comes courtesy of all the hard work, passion and determination put in by everyone at Maranello.

"My thoughts and thanks go to each and every one of them, for what they were able to achieve, to our drivers and also to Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo who, along with Jean Todt, chose me to fill this role. He has always given his support, especially during the most difficult moments."

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