Sebastian Vettel admits dramatic title win 'unbelievable' after his 'most difficult race'
New three-times champ says race caps his hardest ever season
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 26/11/12 6:31pm
An exhausted but elated Sebastian Vettel admitted the magnitude of both the Brazilian GP, and his elevation to a three-times World Champion, would take some time to sink in after what he described as "the most difficult race" of his career.
The Red Bull driver finished in sixth place at Interlagos to become Formula 1's youngest ever triple World Champion but that only told a small fraction of an epic 71-lap tale in which more than once the crown appeared to have slipped away from him.
On the very first lap, Vettel, having already slipped backwards by the first corner, sustained what initially appeared race-ending damage to the back of his RB8 after a double collision with the Williams of Bruno Senna into Turn Four.
Yet from facing backwards on the track, and with a hole punctured in the side of his car, Vettel wasted little time in fighting his way back into the points and into a seemingly comfortable championship-winning position.
However, amid on-off rain showers, further curve balls were thrown with amazing regularity into his race, and the wider title chase, before he ultimately secured the points he needed to see off his Ferrari rival.
Asked afterwards by Sky Sports F1 if his third title had sunk in yet, a clearly overwhelmed 25-year-old admitted: "No. Obviously it will take time. Unbelievable I think.
"Very difficult to find the right words. A very, very tough season. On track, off track, I think for me it was the toughest one but obviously we tried to be strong, fight and be in there and we always bounced back.
"Today they tried to throw everything at us but we never gave up and I'm very proud of that. It was an incredibly difficult race but to come out of it and win the championship here is unbelievable."
Vettel, who becomes the ninth man in history to win three or more F1 titles, admitted he was looking forward to an evening of celebrations in Brazil after such a momentous afternoon of highs and lows.
"I'm sure the lads will have something organised. I'm looking forward to that, but I think it will take time to sink in properly what happened today," he said.
"I think it was probably the most difficult race we faced. In terms of timing, our stop wasn't great to fit the dry tyres one lap before the rain came. But I think there's so many examples: the radio didn't work, we got spun round on the first lap. We were dead last..."
Before he could finish that final sentence, he was interrupted in the media pen by Alonso, the Spaniard offering his congratulations and a warm embrace. It ensured the most sporting of ends to what had proved an epic, and completely unpredictable, title showdown.