Legend Senna inspired Vettel

Story highlights

  • Sebastian Vettel wins his third consecutive Formula One title
  • The 25-year-old becomes only third man to achieve the feat
  • Red Bull driver now sits alongside legend Ayrton Senna on three title victories
  • German believes winning in Senna's country is extra special

Sebastian Vettel described his achievement of claiming a third successive Formula One crown in the country of racing legend Ayrton Senna as 'unreal'.

The Red Bull driver became the youngest ever triple world champion in the history of the sport after recovering from a disastrous start to finish sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Brazilian favourite Senna, who won his home Grand Prix in 1990 and 1991, was also a three-time world champion before his tragic death following a crash at Imola in 1994.

Victorious Vettel makes history

Senna, who died at the age of just 34, won 41 races in 161 attempts and established himself as one of the most talented drivers to have ever graced the sport.

Vettel, 25, is just the third driver in history to win three successive titles, equaling the achievements of Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio and Germany's Michael Schumacher.

He now joins the likes of Senna, Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham on three championship triumphs.

CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day Five
CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day Five


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CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day Four


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"To do this, for all of us in the team it is unreal," he told reporters.

"Also to win a third title here, where one of the greatest Ayrton (Senna) came from.

"It is very difficult to imagine that I join him and other great names by winning three successive titles.

"My radio was not working, I was crying and you didn't hear that and I am very happy about that. I just can't find the right words to describe how I feel right now.

"Christian (Horner) came on the radio and told me the names of all the three-time champions and I cried."


For much of the race it appeared that Vettel would be shedding different kind of tears following a nightmare start to the race.

The German was involved in an opening lap collision with Williams' Bruno Senna, which damaged his car and left him at the back of the grid.

Fangio vs. Senna: Who is the greatest?

With his chief rival Fernando Alonso claiming second place, Vettel somehow managed to fight his way up to a sixth place finish to win the title by just three points.

He added: "I just kept trying to race. We always believed.

"I was so very happy to climb back after being hit like that at the start -- you imagine spinning backwards on the M25 (British motorway). It was not a very comfortable feeling.

"I really want to thank everyone in the team here and in the factory and all of us. Nobody feels more important than anybody else. It is unbelievable for me.

"I had to avoid everyone and I was lucky nobody hit me. Fortunately, the front wing was intact which was important. I was forced back and in the mixed conditions I was the slowest car out there on the straight.

"We just did our thing. That's the way we do it and it works in our team."