15 DECEMBER 2008

In a smoking hot move that Lewis Hamilton more or less invented this year in Brazil, triple Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy pipped him to the post to be named BBC's Sports Personality Of The Year.

The race for the TV title was the second competition scheduled between the sports heroes that day.

They'd been due to go head to head in a unique event billed 'Man v Machine' at Wembley, with the F1 ace in McLaren's new road car pitted against Edinburgh-born cyclist Chris on an adapted version of the track bike he used to win his three gold medals in China. Rain on the temporary track laid down inside the stadium meant the challenge had to be cancelled, however.

Instead, fans were treated to a nail-biting Sports Personality Of The Year battle. When voting phone lines closed Chris' fellow Olympian, swimmer Rebecca Adlington, was the favourite, with the McLaren driver second and the Scotsman as the 13-2 outsider.

However, when all the votes were tallied up the cyclist had garnered 283,630, putting him ahead of Lewis who had 163,864 and Rebecca on 145,924. Lewis was gracious in defeat, saying: "I was up against some amazing athletes who have achieved so much".

Photo: ©
Lewis was a favourite to be voted Sports Personality Of The Year after clinching the world F1 title on the final corner in Brazil, but cyclist Chris Hoy beat him to it in close run phone vote. The battle for the title followed an appearance by the two champions at Wembley Photo: © AFP
Photo: ©
The triple medallist garnered nearly 300,000 votes compared to Lewis' 163,864 and his Olympic colleague Rebecca's 145,924 Photo: © PA