Lewis Hamilton, São Paulo and the last laps in Brazil

When Sebastian Vettel’s Toro Rosso overtook Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren with two laps left of the Brazilian GP, I heard an unprecedented roar of celebration come through the window here in São Paulo – and my flat, I should add, is as far as Interlagos as it is from London.

It was nothing like the wild noise that is sparked by a World Cup goal for the Seleção, with honks and fireworks. Imagine thousands of people across the city simultaneously saying “Wow! Yes!” to themselves: it was more like that.

Two or three electrifying minutes followed, but as we know now, it wasn’t enough to help Felipe Massa win the F1 crown. Timo Glock couldn’t keep his struggling Toyota ahead of Vettel and Hamilton, and the Brazilian ended a point short of the championship – just like Hamilton did last year.

This time, in the battle between England and Brazil (and the lame local media here spent the week trying to create a war between the “evil” British and the “good” homeboy), victory went to the European nation.

"No hard feelings, old chap..." 

Kudos to Hamilton, hands-down the most gifted driver of his generation and a true gentleman, a nice guy who stayed pleasant even while lunatic Brazilians wanted to paint him as a villain.

Sorry for that, mate. Charisma-free Massa will hopefully have his shot one day, bringing the F1 crown back to Brazil – last time we won was in 1991, with Ayrton Senna. But the 2008 title is in the right hands.

The heart-pounding close of the Brazilian GP also shook fans in the Brazilian championship, whose games started minutes after the end of the race. Some even thought Massa had won. In Santos, the Vila Belmiro scoreboard announced: “FELIPE MASSA: F1 WORLD CHAMPION.” Oops.

All the players of São Paulo FC – the team the Brazilian driver supports – entered the pitch with shirts with Massa’s name on the back and the number 1. Of course there was no time to stamp 11 new shirts with the number 2.

But there was some small comfort for Massa as his boys beat Internacional 3-0 and jumped into a lead of their own, for the first time in the tournament, with five rounds to go.

São Paulo: Running into form at just the right time  

With former joint leaders Grêmio dropping to third after being held 1-1 at home by Figueirense, second place was seized by Palmeiras, in a fantastic game also decided during the final lap.

Wanderley Luxemburgo's side were drawing with Santos 1-1 away when Leo Lima "did a Hamilton" and scored the winner in injury time.

So the new “two-horse race” is between São Paulo and Palmeiras. We've already had Grêmio and Cruzeiro, Flamengo and Cruzeiro and Grêmio and Palmeiras. And, with only five points separating the top five, anything could happen in the final five games.

We’ll have to wait for the chequered flag.

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