India was the scene Vettel’s 10th win of the season and his sixth in as many races. He joins only three other drivers in the ranks of four time World Champions. Those being Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Juan Manuel Fangio .
The most significant number however is not the four Championships nor that he managed to achieve them in consecutive years but that he has managed to join the ranks of great drivers by the age of 26. Six years younger than Michael Schumacher was when he managed the feat.
Starting the race on the softer tyre, Vettel was expected to pit earlier than the four drivers in the top 10, who had chosen the harder, medium tyre. Vettel however confounded everyone after pulling away at the start ahead of the two Mercedes by pitting at the end of the second lap, and then once again showed just why he is a World Champion by making his way through the traffic, taking full advantage of the DRS zones.
Vettel finished the race in spectacular fashion, celebrating his win with doughnuts on the pit straight. A move that is popular with the fans but under investigation with the FIA. Despite what they decide there is no taking his Championship away from him with his nearest rival, Fernando Alonso, finishing out of the points.
Vettel was joined on the podium by fellow German Nico Rosberg who brought his Mercedes in to take second and Lotus driver Roman Grosjean,who himself had a spectacular race moving up from 17th on the grid to third on the podium.
“When my engineer called for the usual procedure to go to parc fermé [at the end of the race] and park the car, I said to myself, I don’t care. I am going to the crowd at the main grandstand to have some fun there, which I enjoyed a lot.” Sebastian told David Coulthard on the podium before paying respects to the team that got him there.
“I am very thankful for what these guys are doing. If you look at their pay cheques at the end of the month, you would be surprised at the number of hours they do. It is 100% commitment. I think it is better to work at McDonald’s than do what they do.”
Despite his celebratory antics the German went on to talk about the difficulty to soak up his achievement.”To join people like Michael, Fangio, Prost, it is too difficult to put it into perspective,” he said. “I am way too young to understand what it means. I might be 60 one day and then understand and no one else will care but I will care and realise it is something no one can take away from you.”
Christian Horner, when questioned on his achievements as Team Principal preferred to talk about Vettel. “He has raised the bar,” he said. “He is 26, he has driven in 117 races, won 36 and won four championships. He hasn’t done that by mistake. He has done that with natural ability, a fantastic work ethic – he critiques himself – and engages and inspires people around him.
“We would not have won four titles without Sebastian but it’s all about a team. The fact is you cannot have just the best designer or a great driver – it is the team.”