The world's press broadly hailed Lewis Hamilton as a deserving world champion, after the dramatic last-corner climax to the 2008 season in Brazil.

The world's press broadly hailed Lewis Hamilton as a deserving world champion, after the dramatic last-corner climax to the 2008 season in Brazil.

The boos of the Interlagos crowd, devastated by local driver Felipe Massa's narrow defeat, was summed up by the local media.

The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper dismissed Hamilton's achievement as "a title of 700 metres", also pointing out that the Briton is "champion with fewer victories than Massa".

In Italy, the homeland of the famous Ferrari team, La Gazzetta dello Sport was more complimentary to Hamilton, declaring "hats off to this 23-year-old Englishman" and giving him 8 out of 10, compared with a perfect 10 for race winner Massa.

Timo Glock's last-corner role in the drama, meanwhile, was forgiven, as Gazzetta said Hamilton "stole nothing and Glock gifted him nothing". La Stampa did not really agree, remarking that Hamilton's title is "thanks to the German's Toyota".

Elsewhere, it is clear Hamilton universally divides opinion. The French daily Liberation hailed the McLaren driver "selfish, egocentric, sometimes shifty and willing to do anything to meet his objectives".

A writer for L'Equipe added: "He has conquered F1 with the spirit of a rookie and the driving skills of a veteran, with intelligence and talent, but, with an obvious taste for celebrity and an evident need to win at whatever price, in total contempt of his opponents."

Even the British corps, delirious at its first champion since 1996, acknowledged the near-calamity of the last laps of Hamilton's title. The Telegraph said he triumphed "not so much at the death but at the funeral".

"Boos will never sound so sweet."

 

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