Today, Sebastian Vettel wrote a new page in the Formula 1 history book. The young German won his third successive Formula One title for Red Bull at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, becoming the F1’s youngest triple champion at the age of 25 and in his 101st race.
Vettel’s route to the top took him via the Formula BMW championship, which he won in style in 2004 with 18 victories in 20 races. The three-time world champion also made his Formula One debut with BMW. In 2006 he was named test and reserve driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team and went on to become the youngest driver ever to win a World Championship point at his very first race outing in Indianapolis in 2007. In the same season, BMW allowed Vettel to switch to the Scuderia Toro Rosso team where he took a regular driving position. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Red Bull Racing team and has now celebrated his third World Championship title in a row.
Vettel is only the third driver to win three championships in a row and the ninth triple champion. The others are Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio and legendary Michael Schumacher.
After a spectacular race, the Brazilian Grand Prix was won by Jenson Button of McLaren, with Ferrari taking second and third through Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa respectively.
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director, congratulated the young champion: “I remember Sebastian from my our Formula 1 times. He was a test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 team and filled in for Robert Kubica. Since then, his path was constantly uphill and his great talent was evident since his years as a BMW Junior,” said Marquardt. “His 18 wins in 20 races during the 2004 season in the Formula BMW are still unmatched today.”
Vettel By The Numbers (Reuters)
- Vettel was born in Heppenheim, a town surrounded by vineyards between Heidelberg and Darmstadt, on July 3, 1987. He started out racing karts at the age of eight.
- The German won 18 of 20 races in the 2004 German Formula BMW championship. The following year he was top rookie in the Formula Three Euroseries, won by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.
- He became the youngest driver to take part in a grand prix weekend when he drove for BMW-Sauber in Friday practice in Turkey in 2006, aged 19 and 53 days.
- In 2007 Vettel made his Formula One race debut with BMW-Sauber at Indianapolis, replacing the injured Robert Kubica, and finished eighth – making him the youngest F1 driver to score a point aged 19 and 349 days.
- Vettel started seven races with Toro Rosso in 2007 and all of the 2008 season, when he set more records. His win at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza from pole position made him the youngest driver to start on pole (21 years and 72 days) and youngest ever winner (21 years and 73 days).
- Vettel switched to Red Bull for 2009 after Britain’s David Coulthard retired. He took the team’s first victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, where he also handed Red Bull a first pole and led their first one-two finish. He ended that season as overall runner-up to Briton Jenson Button.
- In 2010, he became Formula One’s youngest champion at the age of 23 and 135 days. The previous youngest was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in 2008, aged 23 and 301 days. Vettel is Germany’s second F1 world champion, after Schumacher. The younger German was nicknamed ‘Baby Schumi’ in his early days.