Leading article: Hamilton the Great

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The Independent Online

While it was a grim weekend for English team sport, with both cricketers and rugby league players experiencing traumatic defeat, two supreme individuals came to the fore. We salute Paula Radcliffe for claiming her third New York marathon, but even she will surely acknowledge that Lewis Hamilton's achievement in winning his first Formula One drivers' championship was of a different order altogether.

At 23, Hamilton is the youngest ever Formula One champion – and the first black champion – in the competition's history. Putting the nation through the emotional wringer in a manner that seems to be peculiarly British, Hamilton produced a last-gasp effort to finish fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix, just enough to secure the title.

The personification of calm – not least in the face of the racist provocation that has been a deeply unwelcome feature of his rise to stardom – the young man from Stevenage joins the ranks of true British sporting greats.