Hamilton joins sport's great chokers
Lewis Hamilton blew the chance to become Formula One's youngest champion and instead joined a list of the greatest sporting chokers.
The Briton suffered a horrible start that allowed eventual race and championship winner Kimi Raikkonen to pass him as well as team-mate Fernando Alonso at the first corner.
We bring you a compilation of the most famous bottlers.
Few sports subject players to such intense pressure as golf, and the sport has claimed more than its share of victims - think Jean van de Velde or Bernhard Langer. But Norman made a career of buckling at crucial moments, coming second in eight majors and winning just twice. His biggest choke came at the 1996 US Masters, when he surrendered a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo in the final round.
The greatest bowler in history a choker? Well, yes. Having spun Australia to the brink of the 2005 Ashes, Warne dropped a dolly off Kevin Pietersen on the final day of the fifth Test, and the batsman promptly compiled a match-saving 158 to bring the little urn back to England. Herschelle Gibbs' famous drop off Steve Waugh in the 1999 World Cup was carelessness, Warne's was a choke.
The Dutch football team have been serial chokers since throwing away the lead in the 1974 World Cup final against Germany. They were beaten in the final four years later and have since made a fine art out of losing on penalties - exiting major tournaments by that method in 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2000, when they missed two spot-kicks in normal time and another three in the shootout.
Novotna beats Henman as the biggest tennis choker, as the Briton's problem was that he wasn't quite good enough, not that he was mentally weak. Not so Novotna, who had a point to go 5-1 up in the third set of the 1993 Wimbledon final against Steffi Graf, but double-faulted and quickly surrendered the next five games in agonizing fashion before bursting into tears. She finally won Wimbledon in 1998.
The Whirlwind is snooker's ultimate nearly man, having lost five World Championship finals in a row between 1990 and 1994, as well as the 1984 edition. The last of these six failures was the most heartbreaking, as he reached a deciding frame against Stephen Hendry and only needed to sink an easy black to claim the title. He missed by a mile as the pressure told, and was never the same player again.
For consistency of near-miss, it is impossible to fault the Bills, who are the only team to reach four Super Bowls in a row. Unfortunately for them, they lost them all. The first of these defeats - to the New York Giants in 1991 - featured perhaps the most exciting finish ever. Bills kicker Scott Norwood had a 47-yard field goal to win it, but pushed the kick wide right and can now be found selling insurance in Virginia.
Can a horse choke? It would seem so. The Queen Mother's Horse was virtually out of sight and cruising to victory 50 metres from home in the 1956 Grand National before inexplicably slipping over, allowing ESB to sneak through. Also Alex Ferguson's favourite choker - the Scot always raises the possibility of a 'Devon Loch' when a side lead Manchester United by 10 or more points.
Back in the days when cycling was a proper sport, Fignon was leading the 1989 Tour de France by 50 seconds going into the final-stage time trial. However, the home favourite gave up 58 seconds - and overall glory - to the American Greg LeMond. It was later claimed that the wind resistance from Fignon's ponytail cost him the win. A bit harsh to call him a choker as he did win Le Tour on two other occasions.
New York Yankees
You might not expect to find the 'winningest' team in Major League Baseball on a list of bottlers, but the Yankees performed perhaps the most celebrated choke in American sports history in 2004. From 3-0 up in their playoff series against arch-rivals the Boston Red Sox, they proceeded to lose four games on the bounce, and the Sox went on to win their first World Series since 1918.
Pressure can make even the simplest task feel like scaling Everest. Fox was stranded at base camp in the 1968 rugby league Challenge Cup final, when he was presented with a conversion in front of the posts to win the game for Wakefield Trinity. He missed, gifting the Cup to Leeds and leaving the astonished TV commentator Eddie Waring to mutter "poor lad". Indeed he was.