Lewis Hamilton received his trophy as Formula One's youngest champion on Friday and the 23-year-old Briton said he had fulfilled a childhood dream.
"This year has been a very special one in my life, the fulfillment of a dream I've had since childhood and an ambition that has taken my family and me on an amazing journey," Hamilton said at the International Automobile Federation gala awards dinner.
"The fact that I won the drivers' world championship on the very last lap of the very last race is something that makes me so proud of our efforts in 2008," added the sport's first black champion.
"We pushed to the limit on every lap, from Melbourne to Brazil, and it's that determination and spirit that ultimately won us the world title."
Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa, beaten by a single point after winning his home race last month, celebrated his team's constructors' crown and saw his own achievements in a positive light.
"We are already looking to a new season and I will do my utmost to come back here to Monaco next year to claim the prize which today has gone to Lewis," he said.
Singapore, host of Formula One's first night grand prix this year, was awarded the race promoters' trophy.