This was Lewis at his finest, a majestic race from pole position to chequered flag, and he goes into the final race at Sao Paulo in two weeks’ time knowing that – with seven points between him and Ferrari rival Felipe Massa – all he has to do is to finish in fifth place or higher and the World Championship is his.
The only man who can stop him is Felipe Massa, who finished second in Shanghai only after his team-mate, and outgoing Champion, Kimi Raikkonen slowed down and let him overtake in the closing stages of the race.
While Hamilton basked in the satisfaction of a job well done he could take more pleasure in the praise for his efforts from an unlikely quarter, Ferrari’s team principal Stefano Domenicali - who freely admitted that the Italian team had no answer on this occasion. In fact Domenicali made no secret of the fact that he was slightly baffled by the Ferrari F2008’s lack of pace on this circuit where Raikkonen had won convincingly in the wet a year ago.
McLaren boss Ron Dennis said after the race that he really didn’t mind whether the Ferraris finished first and second at Interlagos as Hamilton just had to follow them home to put the Championship beyond doubt.
Now British fans will have a nailbiting wait to see whether Hamilton follows Damon Hill as Britain’s ninth F1 champion. Or if Massa follows the late Ayrton Senna as Brazil’s fourth.