On this day in 2011: Sebastian Vettel clinches second F1 world championship
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel clinched his second Formula One drivers’ championship on October 9, 2011 after he finished third at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The German had won his first championship 12 months earlier in stunning fashion in only his third full season in the sport.
Eager to continue his dominance, Vettel moved through the gears in 2011 and claimed the title in the 15th round at Suzuka, with four more races left.
After he secured a ninth win of the year at Singapore two weeks before, only a single point was required in Japan and despite relinquishing pole position, the Red Bull driver steered his car home in third and made more history.
Vettel became the youngest driver, aged 24 and 98 days, to win double championships and eclipsed Fernando Alonso in the process.
He would clinch championship glory twice more over the next two seasons, including a record-breaking 2013 campaign where he won nine consecutive races – a feat which still stands – to take his overall tally for the year to 13 victories, which equalled Michael Schumacher’s 2004 heroics.
After watching his fellow German set the standard growing up, the allure of racing in the red of Ferrari was too much to turn down and Vettel signed for the Italian manufacturer ahead of the 2015 championship.
It has not proved a happy marriage, however, with a placing of third in his first season in the new car deemed a “miracle” before 2016 ended without a win despite seven podium finishes.
Title challenges failed to bring reward in 2017 and 2018 with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton able to wipe out a deficit to Vettel to seal the drivers’ championship in both years.
Ferrari have since made the decision not to extend the Heppenheim racer’s contract after the conclusion of this season and the 33-year-old will drive for Aston Martin in 2021.