Record-setting Vettel honours legend Senna

Julian Harris
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RED Bull’s Sebastian Vettel evoked the memory of legendary driver Ayrton Senna last night, after he eclipsed the late Brazilian’s record to become the youngest ever racer to win three Formula One championships.

Britain’s Jenson Button won yesterday’s thrilling and rain-soaked Brazilian Grand Prix in one hour, 45 minutes and 22 seconds, yet all attention was turned to Vettel whose sixth place finish earned the German his third straight drivers’ title.

“We’re here in Sao Paulo, the place where he was born, came from and was buried,” Vettel said of Senna, who in 1991 had become the youngest driver to claim a hat-trick of championships.

“To come here and win the championship for a third time – I don’t really know what to say. It’s not sunk in, I’ve hardly had any time for myself. There are only two guys who have done that before,” Vettel added – referring to Michael Schumacher and Juan-Manuel Fangio, the only other drivers to have won three consecutive titles.

Schumacher himself finished his last race one place behind Vettel. He will now retire from F1 for the second time.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso came second, with his team-mate Felipe Massa completing the podium. The result meant that Vettel pipped Alonso to the title by three points.

The incident-packed race ended behind a safety car with only nine cars completing all 71 laps. Lewis Hamilton looked set for a win in his final race for McLaren before Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg crashed into the Brit with 27 laps to go.

Drivers’ championship
1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 281 points

2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 278

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 207

Constructors’ championship
1. Red Bull (Renault engine) 460 points

2. Ferrari (Ferrari engine) 400

3. McLaren (Mercedes engine) 378