Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates
winning the world championship with his team at the
Brazilian F1 Grand Prix at Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel became Formula One's youngest
triple world champion at the age of 25 after a wet and wild
Brazilian Grand Prix rollercoaster won by McLaren's Jenson
Button behind the safety car.
The German, who needed only a fourth place to be sure of
becoming the first driver to win his first three titles
consecutively, finished sixth after battling back from last
spot on the opening lap.
It was enough, however, when sole rival Fernando Alonso
crossed the line in his Ferrari in second place with
Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa third.
"You're a triple world champion. You're the man. You are a
triple world champion," shouted team principal Christian
Horner over the team radio as Vettel crossed the finish line
after what must have been one of the most nerve-racking races
of his career.
Vettel ended the season with 281 points to 278 for Alonso,
who would have been the youngest triple champion at 31 had
results gone his way on a day when the fickle Brazilian
weather produced a thriller.
The chaos started right from the off, when Vettel fell back
into the pack and was caught in a collision with Brazilian
Bruno Senna's Williams that left him facing the wrong way
with a damaged car.
"There is visible damage, it is not the front wing, we cannot
fix it," he was told as he rejoined the chase with the whole
race ahead of him.
Four laps later Vettel was assured the data looked good and
Red Bull technical head Adrian Newey had a photograph of the
damage taken at the driver's pitstop to get a closer look
from the pit wall.
Alonso, Vettel's only title rival who had 13 points to make
up, looked like he could steal it as the championship
pendulum swung both ways over the 71 laps at the Interlagos
The safety car was deployed twice, there were crashes,
collisions, botched pitstops and constant uncertainty about
the weather with black clouds overhead, occasional rain but
not the torrential downpour many had feared.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had led from pole position but could
not shake off team mate Button, who made a wise decision to
do a long first stint along with Force India's Nico
Hamilton's last race for McLaren before he joins Mercedes
ended when he and Hulkenberg collided on the 54th lap as they
came up to lap back markers into turn one.
Hulkenberg, who had led for much of the race, was able to
rejoin but was given a drive through penalty that ended his
hopes of a podium finish.
Australian Mark Webber finished fourth, ahead of Hulkenberg
in fifth in his last race for Force India before moving to
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher took a
surprising seventh place for Mercedes in his last race in
Out of the points, Caterham celebrated 11th place for Russian
Vitaly Petrov that lifted them back ahead of Marussia into
10th place overall in the championship - a finish worth
millions to the team.