Lewis Hamilton has claimed his second Formula One world title with a barnstorming victory in the 2014 season’s finale in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton, who won his first title in 2008, took control off the line, surging past title rival Nico Rosberg, who started on pole.
The 29-year-old becomes only the fourth Brit to win more than one world title, joining Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart.
With double points awarded, it meant Rosberg still had a chance to claim the top spot, despite sitting 17 points behind his Mercedes team-mate.
And it looked set for a desert duel between the pair as Rosberg claimed pole position after dominating in Saturday’s qualifying.
But his advantage was immediately erased as Hamilton exploded off the line and into first-place, with the German’s finished in a lowly 14th after a race plagued with engine troubles.
Rosberg’s title challenge was hit by a failure of the ERS (energy recovery store) and from that moment he only went backwards, with Hamilton clinching his 11th victory of the season and ending the season 67 points clear at the top of the standings.
After Hamilton crossed the line Prince Harry was the first to offer his congratulations over the pit radio as he said: “Lewis, thank you very much for not making the British public sweat. You are a legend!”
With the enormity of the moment sinking in, Hamilton let out a loud “Woohoooooo!” in reply, before adding: “World champion!”
In fairness, it was fully deserved, and mercifully the controversial spectre of the double points did not come into play.
The watching public, however, were denied a fight to the line between the two men who have thoroughly dominated the season.
For Mercedes, it is their 16th victory from the 19 races, a new F1 record, surpassing the mark previously set by Ferrari twice and also McLaren.
However, internally the team will be bitterly disappointed a technical gremlin wrecked the prospect of a spectacular grandstand finish between the former friends.
Girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger was quick to congratulate Hamilton, along with his father Anthony, step-mum Linda and brother Nicolas.
Standing on the top step of the podium, with the British national anthem ringing out, there were clear tears of joy in Hamilton’s eyes.
Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas made up the rest of the podium, finishing in second and third respectively, with Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo fourth and McLaren’s Jensen Button coming home in fifth in what could prove to be the Brit’s final race in Formula One.