Colin Hilton, Chief Executive of the Motor Sports Association - governing body of UK motor sport - pays tribute to Lewis Hamilton who today became FIA Formula 1 World Champion after finishing fifth in this afternoon's extraordinary Brazilian Grand Prix:
"Lewis' performances since his arrival in Formula 1 last year have set the world alight. He has demonstrated his extraordinary talent, commitment and determination to become the youngest ever F1 world champion.
"For those of us who have watched his progress and witnessed his development over more than a decade in the UK's junior formulae, his success comes as no surprise. His path to the top has included all the major stepping stones from karting through to single-seaters, and his championship pedigree has been displayed throughout.
"Lewis' championship is fantastic news for the whole of British motor sport. Nearly half of the current F1 drivers learned their trade in the UK's domestic championships and Lewis' success brings further credibility to the UK as the world's best proving ground for young racing drivers.
"But even more importantly, Lewis is providing an incredible platform from which to develop motor sport in this country. The British public has been gripped by Lewis' exploits and the sport is enjoying more media coverage than ever before. More and more people, from all kinds of backgrounds, are becoming interested in the sport. The MSA is firmly committed to increasing participation and bringing more people to the exciting world of motor sport, either as competitor, volunteer or official. We are investing heavily in promoting the sport and making it more affordable and accessible to all.
"For today, however, let us delight in Lewis' marvellous achievements and celebrate with him the fact that he has become the UK's ninth Formula 1 world champion."
British F1 World Champions
Mike Hawthorn 1958
Graham Hill 1962, 1968
Jim Clark 1963, 1965
John Surtees 1964
Jackie Stewart 1969, 1971, 1973
James Hunt 1976
Nigel Mansell 1992
Damon Hill 1996
Lewis Hamilton 2008
Lewis Hamilton's career
2008 FIA Formula 1 World Champion: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2007 FIA Formula 1 runner-up: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2006 GP2 Series: Champion with ART Grand Prix; five wins
2005 F3 Euroseries: Champion with ASM F3 Dallara-Mercedes; 15 wins
2004 F3 Euroseries: fifth; one win
2003 British Formula Renault: Champion; 10 wins
2002 British Formula Renault: third; three wins
2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series; fifth2000 Formula A: European Champion; winner of all four rounds; World Cup Champion;
1999 Intercontinental A (ICA): Italian "Industrials" Champion, Junior ICA (JICA): Vice European Champion
1998 Junior ICA (JICA): second in McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series; signed by McLaren and Mercedes-Benz to Young Driver Support Programme
1997 Junior Yamaha: Super One British Champion; winner of McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series
1996 Cadet Class: winner of McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series
1995 Cadet Class: Super One British Champion