Hamilton concludes triumphant 2008 season in style

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Lewis Hamilton brought his triumphant 2008 season to an enormously satisfying conclusion on Sunday with an outstanding day of events in London and Liverpool. In the evening, Lewis finished runner-up for the second successive year in the BBC’s prestigious Sports Personality of the Year awards at Liverpool's Echo Arena.

Pipped by cycling Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy, Lewis was nevertheless enormously proud to earn the Great British public’s support for his achievements.

“It’s been an incredible year,” Hamilton told host Gary Lineker. “In the closing laps of Brazil, my whole life flashed past my eyes. When I came across the line and the team told me I was world champion, all my emotions came out: it was the most draining experience I’ve ever had and the proudest moment of my life.”

Earlier in the day, Lewis thrilled 46,000 race fans during a series of exhibition runs at Wembley Stadium’s Race of Champions event. Blasting into the famous stadium to a huge roar from the crowd, Lewis gave British cycling hero Chris Hoy the ride of a lifetime by performing donuts, burnouts and four-wheel drifts at the wheel of a 650bhp silver Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722s.

He later climbed aboard his MP4-23 – the last time he is expected to drive the championship-winning 2008 machine before testing of the MP4-24 begins in January next year – to perform a similar series of donuts and high-speed burnouts.

“It’s great to be able to show what I can do in front of so many people,” said a visibly thrilled Lewis at the end of the event. “The crowd’s reaction was fantastic and got me pumped up – I really want to thank them for their support throughout the year, it’s been amazing.”

Sunday’s events concluded a high-profile week for Lewis, during which he was awarded the RAC’s Segrave Trophy for his achievements during 2007 and five trophies from the British Racing Drivers’ Club.