Sebastian Vettel clinched his fourth consecutive world title with victory in the Indian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s German driver, 26, drove a perfect race to secure his sixth consecutive victory this season and become only the fourth man in history to win four titles.
Vettel joins legends Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher as a four-time champion.
The victory keeps Vettel on target to equal the all-time record of nine consecutive F1 race wins.
Vettel’s Red Bull team also won the Formula 1 constructors’ championship for the fourth consecutive year.
“I’m speechless,” said Vettel. “I don’t know what to say, I crossed the line and I was just empty. You want to think of something to say and I just can’t. It has been an amazing season, the spirit in the team is great and it is a pleasure to jump in the car and drive.”
The win was Vettel’s sixth in succession and 10th in total in an incredible year that could yet see him match Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a single season.
Despite his impressive form, Vettel has not always been popular. Wins in Belgium, Canada and Singapore were greeted by boos, which he also received following his retirement from the lead in the British Grand Prix, and Vettel revealed on the podium in India how he had been affected by the abuse he had received.
“It has not been an easy season,” he said. “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 was hard, but I think I answered it on the track, which I am very pleased about.”
Should Vettel win the three remaining races in Abu Dhabi, the United States, and Brazil, he will also equal Alberto Ascari’s run of nine consecutive grand prix wins, achieved in 1952 and 1953.
He is six years younger than Schumacher was when he became a four-time champion in 2001 and will no doubt fancy his chances of eclipsing his compatriot’s record of seven world titles in the coming years.