Germany’s Sebastian Vettel roared into the record books as Formula One’s youngest four-time world champion after winning the Indian Grand Prix for the third year in a row yesterday.
The 26-year-old’s Red Bull team also took the constructors’ world championship for the fourth successive year.
“You’ve done it in style,” Red Bull principal Christian Horner shouted over the team radio as Vettel took the checkered flag with a massive 29.8 second lead over compatriot Nico Rosberg for Mercedes.
“Brilliant drive. You join the greats, mate. You’re up there,” Horner said.
The victory from pole position was Vettel’s sixth in a row and completed a hat-trick in India where no other driver has won since the race made its debut on the calendar in 2011.
Vettel becames the fourth quadruple champion and only the third driver to land four titles in a row after Germany’s seven-time winner Michael Schumacher and late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio.
The German celebrated by adding some tire smoke to the haze hanging over the Buddh International Circuit, slowing the car on the pit straight and then spinning it around with some “donuts” for the fans.
He got out, standing up on the car, before crouching to kiss the front in a gesture of worship. Throwing his gloves into the grandstand, Vettel clambered over the pit wall to embrace Horner and designer Adrian Newey.
“How do I feel? I’m overwhelmed. One of the best days of my life so far,” Vettel said in a podium interview alongside Rosberg and third-placed Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who had roared through from 17th on the grid for Lotus.
“I am speechless and I was empty when I crossed the line. I spent ages thinking what to say, there is so much you want to say at a time like that,” Vettel said.
“It has not been an easy season. From the outside people will think it was easy, but it wasn’t. It has been hard for me in particular to be booed when I have not done anything wrong,” he said.
The boos that marked some of his earlier wins were absent yesterday, with the German’s title a foregone conclusion and the crowd happy to witness history in the making.