F1 rivals hail Sebastian Vettel hat-trick
Sao Paulo: Tributes flowed for Germany`s Sebastian Vettel after the Red Bull driver claimed his third consecutive Formula 1 drivers` world championship in Brazil.
The German only needed a sixth-place finish at the season-ending race at Interlagos to clinch the title, three points ahead of Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso, reports Xinhua.
Leading the praise was Vettel`s compatriot, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who competed in his last Grand Prix Sunday, while Red Bull teammate Mark Webber described the 25-year-old as "unique".
Michael Schumacher said: "In a way it reminds of 2003, I had a similar struggle and I just managed to win the championship by a single point. I`m very proud of him and he`s a good friend of mine, let’s see what happens in his future."
Teammate Mark Webber said: "He`s in a club on his own now. It`s very, very special to do it three times in a row. Last year was a little more straightforward, this year was a bit more difficult, as was 2010. I congratulate him, it`s a great effort. You have to take your hat off to him and I am happy that the world championship stays in the team."
Rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari commented: "The championship was not lost here. It was lost when Romain Grosjean flew over my head or when Vettel surprisingly only got a reprimand after qualifying in Japan. I have a great feeling after 2012."
Jenson Button of McLaren said: "Congratulations to Sebastian. To win three world championships in a row is a great achievement. Everyone who took part in today`s race deserves respect. It was crazy out there. The conditions were always going to trigger plenty of action, because some cars could generate the required tyre temperatures and others couldn`t. So, for most of the race, you were on a tyre that didn`t feel quite right for the conditions."
Brazillian Bruno Senna of Williams who crashed into Vettel on the first lap said: "We all try to avoid collisions, especially when it involves somebody who is fighting for the championship and you end up interfering. But accidents happen. It was the first time I crashed in the opening lap this year. In the end Vettel won the championship and was very happy. I think he is going to have a great night tonight."