Sebastian Vettel is the 2013 Formula 1 driver’s championship. The 23-year-old German finished sixth in a tense, rain-affected Brazilian grand prix, earning enough points to become the youngest ever triple world champion.
Vettel’s chief rival, Fernando Alonso, finished second, but needed Vettel to finish lower than seventh in order to win the championship. McLaren’s Jenson Button snatched the race victory after his team mate Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire after being taken out by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. Alonso’s Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa claimed an emotional third place in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
Hulkenberg had been performing well. The Force India driver had led the race for several laps before a safety car allowed Hamilton to close the gap and pass him in the DRS zone. Hulkenberg attempted a fightback but his over-exuberance in the damp conditions threw his car into a spin that led to a collision with Hamilton. Hulkenberg eventually finished fifth after a drive-through penalty. Mark Webber came home fourth, while Michael Schumacher, racing in his last ever season in F1, finished seventh ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne
The tense, rain-affected season finale was far from straightforward for Vettel. Starting fourth, the German collided with Bruno Senna and was forced towards the back of the grid. The damage to his car proved merely cosmetic, however, and he managed to fight his way back up the field, earning enough points to claim the championship.
“It is difficult to imagine what goes through my head now even for myself,” Vettel told the BBC. “I am full of adrenaline and if you poke me now I wouldn’t feel it.
“It was an incredible race. When you get turned around at Turn Four for no reason and it becomes like heading the wrong way down the M25 it is not the most comfortable feeling. I was lucky no-one hit me but the car was damaged and we lost a lot of speed, especially when it dried up. Fortunately it started to rain again and I felt so much happier.”
“A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks [during the season], but we did not get distracted by that and kept going, and all the guys gave a big push right to the end.”