Sebastian Vettel claimed his fourth consecutive World Drivers’ Championship title with a comprehensive victory at the Indian Grand Prix, finishing almost half a minute ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.
After crossing the line to become just the fourth driver in F1 history to win four titles, Vettel admitted he could not express what the feat meant.
“I crossed the line, I was empty. I took ages thinking about something today,” he admitted. “It’s one of these moments you wish to say so many things but you can’t.
“The car was phenomenal today. It was phenomenal all season to be honest. I couldn’t ask for more,” he added. “I want to say a big thank you to the team. For sure it was not an easy season, even if people from the outside get that idea.”
Vettel’s race boiled down to a battle with team-mate Mark Webber, with the Red Bull pair on different strategies. Starting from pole on soft tyres Vettel held his lead as the lights went out but pitted after just two laps for the more durable medium tyres.
As the other soft-tyre starters did the same, Webber, who started fourth on medium tyres took the lead. But Vettel had the edge, rejoining P17 and scything his way through the field to close the gap on Webber.
After their final pit stops, Webber was P4, 12.5 seconds adrift of the German on the same tyres and that was the victory decided. Webber was still looking set for second place but an alternator problem ended his afternoon early.
Rosberg, who had started on the front row beside Vettel, put in a solid performance to claim second. “The team did a fantastic strategy and, yeah, second place, I’m pleased with that.
“Important for us to have a normal weekend, so a lot of points and giving Ferrari a run for their money in the Constructors’ [Championship].”
Grosjean enjoyed a superb afternoon. Having started 17th after an error in qualifying, the Frenchman made a different one-stop strategy work beautifully to climb to third, passing team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages.
“I would not have bet a penny on me being on the podium today,” said Grosjean afterwards. “But the race pace was really there. We did a very brave strategy –and it paid off. We’re back on the podium and it’s quite amazing from where we started.”
Raikkonen was also passed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and then Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, the McLaren driver eventually taking a useful fifth place ahead of the second Mercedes.
Raikkonen settled for seventh place. Behind him Paul Di Resta finished eighth, ahead of team-mate Adrian Sutil. The final point on offer was claimed by Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Vettel’s victory also meant that Red Bull Racing clinched a fourth consecutive Formula One Constructors’ Championship with three races in hand.
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