F1 rivals hail Vettel hat-trick
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, lets 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."