POSTED: November 2nd 2008

Rio wins -- with Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton celebrates at Interlagos /
Lewis Hamilton celebrates at Interlagos /

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

SAO PAOLO: Olympic bid officials from Rio de Janeiro were hoping today that their work would benefit from the celebratory fall-out from Lewis Hamilton's dramatic Formula One motor racing triumph.

Brazil's Felipe Massa, who won the race, believed briefly in the climactic confusion that he had done enough also to win the world crown after a nail-biting last race of the season at the Interlagos circuit. When Massa took the chequered flag, Hamilton was back in sixth place after having made a potentially crucial driving error. Incredibly Hamilton, who needed to finish at least fifth, managed to overtake Timo Glock on the very lap to edge back up and thus pip Massa by one point overall.

A Rio bid campaign team, led by Brazilian Minister of Sport Orlando Silva Júnior, could not have wished for a more exciting focus from world sport as they worked intensively at the circuit to increase recognition of the Rio 2016 brand both in Brazil and around the world.

Worldwide broadcast

The bid leaders benefited from the fact that the Formula One showdown was broadcast to 140 countries with an estimated audience not far short of 400m.

They saw a tense race marked by early confusion after a rain-delayed start. Massa, who had said he would be thrilled "merely" to win the grand prix in front of his home fans, led from start to confused finish when late rain contributed decisively to the chaotic conclusion. Hamilton, at 23, is the youngest-ever Formula One world champion and the first British title-winner since Damon Hill in 1996.

Rio bid president Carlos Arthur Nuzman, underlining the reason for his team’s promotional presence at the race, said: “Our presence here has been extremely important because the occasion has not only brought us the focus of a very large worldwide audience, because of the global popularity of Formula One, but also the support of major political, business and sports personalities, both Brazilian and international.”

Rio is bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games against Chicago, Madrid, and Tokyo with the host city election in October 2009 at the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Photograph (above right): Felipe Massa celebrates his victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix /

Keywords · Olympic Games 2016 · Rio de Janeiro · Formula One · Interlagos · Lewis Hamilton · Felipe Massa · Arthur Nuzman

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