Sebastian Vettel led the list of winners at the Autosport Awards on Sunday night
World Champion wins 'International Racing Driver' category
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 02/12/13 12:03pm
Sebastian Vettel: Award winner
Sebastian Vettel once again led the list of winners at the annual Autosport Awards in London on Sunday night.
The World Champion beat the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, not to mention IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and NASCAR winner Jimmie Johnson, to take the International Racing Driver award for the fourth year in a row.
"It is still very special for me walking down those steps; it is absolutely humbling," said Vettel, who matched Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher in winning his fourth straight world title this year.
"I think there is always a threat that if you have such a run as we have had you get used to it; that you fall into the expectation and so when you start second, third or fourth or you don't win it's a disappointment.
"It shouldn't be: finishing second doesn't mean you had a bad race, it depends how it unfolded. You can still be very proud of what you get out of the day.
"That's why it is important to appreciate the run we have had; you never know how long it will last," added the 26-year-old, whose Red Bull RB9 was named Racing Car of the Year.
Hamilton did not come away from the evening empty-handed, though, after being named best British Driver, an award he last won in 2007.
"It's been a while and I'm very grateful to have another one, it's always a special award to have," said Hamilton, who finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship in his first season at Mercedes.
Meanwhile, Jules Bianchi beat Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez as well as Marussia team-mate Max Chilton to the Rookie of the Year honour.
The Frenchman only joined the team at the last minute but immediately impressed with his pace and claimed the 13th place-finish in Malaysia that enabled Marussia to secure tenth in the constructors' standings.
"It has been a great season for me. I didn't expect to be on the grid in February, so the contract with Marussia was great and it's been nice ever since," Bianchi said.
"Tenth was great for us, and now we look forward for next year."
There were also lifetime achievement awards for former World Champions Niki Lauda and John Surtees but Matt Parry was arguably the night's biggest winner.
The Formula Renault NEC champion won an F1 test as well as £100,000 as part of the McLaren Autosport BRDC award.
"It's fantastic," the 19-year-old said. "Absolutely amazing - I don't know what to say."