Vettel claims fourth consecutive F1 title in India
Greater Noida, India (SportsNetwork.com) - Sebastian Vettel clinched his fourth successive Formula One world championship and gave Red Bull its fourth straight constructors' title as well with a convincing win in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old Vettel joined his fellow German compatriot Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina as those drivers who have won four or more F1 championships in a row. Frenchman Alain Prost had quadruple titles, not consecutively, during his career.
Vettel started on the pole but pitted on lap 3 to switch from soft tires to mediums. He reclaimed the lead for good on lap 33 when his teammate, Mark Webber, made his final stop. Vettel finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of second-place Nico Rosberg from Mercedes.
"It's been a phenomenal season," Vettel said. "The spirit inside the team is so strong. It's a pleasure to jump in the car and give it all I have for the guys. The car was phenomenal today. I couldn't ask for more."
After winning his sixth straight grand prix, Vettel increased his lead to 115 points over Fernando Alonso, who finished 11th. Alonso sustained damage to his front wing when he made contact with Webber in the first turn of the opening lap. He had to pit for a new wing, which dropped him far back in the field.
"I congratulate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull," Alonso said. "They have been very strong and dominant, especially in the second half of the season."
Vettel has won the first three Indian GPs at Buddh International Circuit from the pole position. Overwhelmed with emotion, Vettel made several donuts in front of the main grandstand and then saluted the fans before he climbed the fence and threw one of his gloves to the crowd.
"There were so many people in the main grandstands, so I had to do it," he said. "Usually, we're not allowed to do that, but it felt so right at the time."
Vettel has now scored 10 victories this season and 36 in his F1 career. He had won in Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Korea and Japan prior to India. Three grand prix remain -- Abu Dhabi (Nov. 3), Austin, Texas (Nov. 17) and Brazil (Nov. 24).
"It was very emotional for everyone to see (Vettel) cross the line," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. "I said to him to try and do it in style, and he did, and to win this Indian Grand Prix for the third successive time is incredible."
Red Bull has accumulated 470 points for the season, which is 157 more than its closest competitor, Mercedes. Ferrari is third in the constructors' standings.
Webber experienced an issue with his alternator and was forced to retire on lap 40 of this 60-lap race. He was running second to Vettel at the time of his mechanical problem.
"It's disappointing, but there's not much I could do," Webber said. "There was something wrong with the car, so I had to stop right away."
Rosberg's second-place run marked his best finish since winning the British Grand Prix in June.
"Second place, I'm pleased with that," said Rosberg, who also started in second. "The car was working well for us today. It's important for us to have a good weekend, so we can get a lot of points and give Ferrari a run for their money in the constructors' (standings)."
Romain Grosjean crossed the line in third in his Lotus after starting 17th. Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez from McLaren rounded out the top-five.
"We had a very brave strategy, as we did yesterday (in qualifying)," Grosjean said. "It wasn't the time to go safe, and it paid off. We're back on the podium."
10/27 10:42:11 ET