Kimi Raikkonen was finally confirmed as Formula One world champion for 2007 more than six hours after the conclusion of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
A suspicion of doubt had been cast over Raikkonen's title triumph as race stewards investigated BMW Sauber and Williams for a breach of technical regulations regarding fuel temperatures.
However, after a three-hour hearing, the stewards chose to impose no penalty on either team, ensuring Raikkonen could celebrate the first F1 title of his career.
Under the regulations, no fuel on board the car may be more than 10 degrees centigrade below ambient temperature, and in initial findings there was a clear discrepancy.
If Williams and BMW Sauber had been found guilty, Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld – who finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively – could have been stripped of their points.
That would have promoted Lewis Hamilton up to fourth, and would have given the 22-year-old the crown in his rookie year.
But the race result stands, with Raikkonen’s victory at the end of the 71-lap race in Interlagos guaranteeing him the title by just a point from Hamilton and McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The 26-year-old Spaniard could only finish third, while Hamilton had to settle for seventh after a gearbox glitch on lap eight relegated him from sixth to 18th at the time.
In their findings, the stewards declared: “There must be sufficient doubt as to both the temperature of the fuel actually on board the car and also as to the true ambient temperature as to render it inappropriate to impose a penalty.”
A delighted Raikkonen said: “It’s very difficult for me to explain in words what I am feeling at the moment. It is an incredible emotion.
“I want to thank the team for everything they have done this year.
“Even when we went through some difficult times and it looked as though there was no way to fight back, we never gave up and this work produced its reward.
“Thanks also to my parents, to my wife Jenni and everyone who believed in me. I have achieved what I have been after for a long time.
“Now everything else will be an extra.”
Raikkonen also expressed particular thanks to team-mate Felipe Massa who sacrificed a second successive victory in front of his home crowd to guarantee the title for the Finn.
Massa led all the way through to lap 50 when he came in for his second set of tyres and more fuel.
At that stage Raikkonen was within two seconds, and over the course of the next three laps he put his foot to the floor.
When he emerged from his own second stop he came out just ahead of Massa and cruised home to the chequered flag.
“Felipe’s help was vital and he was amazing,” added Raikkonen.
“We had to get a one-two and then see what the others did. This time, things went our way and the unexpected did happen.
“This has been a very nice year for me during which I have enjoyed Formula One like never before.
“In Ferrari, I have found a great family and I am proud to have won the title with them.”