Lewis Hamilton joined the elite ranks of double Formula One world champions on Sunday after a nerve-racking drive to victory in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In a floodlit race overshadowed by the ever-present spectre of mechanical failure after the Briton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg suffered a loss of power early on, Hamilton raced to his 11th win in 19 races.
The 29-year-old, who took his first title with McLaren in 2008, became Britain's first multiple champion since Jackie Stewart in 1971 and only the country's fourth.
"Lewis, thank you very much for not letting the British public down," Britain's Prince Harry told him over the radio from the pit wall as the chequered flag came down. "You are an absolute legend."
Hamilton, crying tears on the podium as the anthem sounded and his voice cracking in later interviews, performed a slowing down lap with the British flag fluttering from the cockpit.
"World champion. Oh my God, I can't believe it, thanks everyone," he shouted over the radio before parking up and embracing his father, pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and family.
The victory was a record 16th of the season for Mercedes.
Rosberg finished 14th after starting on pole position, the much-vaunted "duel in the desert" becoming a nightmare after dark for the German son of 1982 champion Keke.
He had suffered a loss of power from the 25th of 55 laps, then complained about losing brakes as he fell down the order.
When the team asked him to pit and retire, Rosberg asked to stay out so he could at least end the season on track and he crossed the line 14th.
"Sorry it didn't work out but you drove like a champion," said Mercedes technical head Paddy Lowe. "We come back next year to have another go."
Brazilian Felipe Massa finished second for Williams in the race, with Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas third.