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Whitmarsh Praises Sportsman Massa

Following several congratulation messages coming from Ferrari officials (and drivers) on Lewis Hamilton’s winning the title this year, McLaren decided to return the fair-play favor this week through team CEO Martin Whitmarsh. The British official admitted he was impressed with Massa’s performance in Brazil and with the way he handled losing the F1 crown in the dying laps of the race.

“Felipe Massa drove brilliantly to win the Brazilian Grand Prix. I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the quality of his driving throughout the season and the impressively sportsmanlike way he handled the disappointment of finding out at the last minute that he hadn't won the drivers' world championship,” said Whitmarsh earlier today.

The Brazilian led his home Grand Prix from beginning to end while also starting the race from pole position and needed Hamilton to finish 6th or worst to secure his maiden title in Formula 1. For a while it seemed like a possible outcome of the Interlagos race, as Vettel passed Hamilton for 5th place only 2 laps to go until the finish line.

Nevertheless, Hamilton kept his cool and managed to maintain his car on the track in some rather difficult conditions, catching up with Toyota’s Timo Glock in the very last lap. The German lost no less than 20 second on the last kilometers of the race – as he was running on dry tires – and gave Hamilton no headaches in clinching 5th place.

Despite losing the title in the last corners of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Massa congratulated Hamilton at the after-race press conference and admitted he was a worthy winner of the 2008 championship. He insisted that, despite the ‘Glock factor’ coming into play in the end of the race, the driver finishing the season with the highest number of points deserves to be crowned world champion.
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