At Interlagos last Sunday we found a new champion. A man who drove brilliantly, did everything that was needed of him in a season when he has truly grown up. He improved immeasurably as a driver and received proper appreciation, plus equally fair criticism, for his on-track exploits.
And, at the end of the most important race of his life, he acted magnanimously. He proved himself the absolute sportsman - honouring his rival, praising his team as he had done every step of the way through the campaign, and accepting the crazy finish to the Brazilian Grand Prix with total honour.
So forget the heartbreak of his engine failure at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the controversy over him being handed victory at Spa - and that moment of over-excitement in the Japanese Grand Prix. Felipe Massa emerged in my eyes as just a big a victor as Lewis Hamilton in Brazil last week.
Felipe Massa crosses the line to win his home Grand Prix © XPB
Unlike his father, and some other members of the Ferrari team in those final seconds of the race, Massa never went through the joy and pain of thinking he was champion and then finding out he was not. He did, however, have several seconds of not knowing who had won the crown as he crossed the line - as he waited for the radio message from race engineer Rob Smedley to let him know just where Hamilton had finished.