He certainly divides opinion among fans around the world, but Sebastian Vettel has been heaped with praise from the Formula One community following his fourth consecutive title at the Indian Grand Prix.
After a dominant drive to his tenth win of 2013, the young German claimed to be ‘speechless’ at the reality of joining Fangio, Prost and Schumacher as a quadruple Champion.
However, he went on to speak candidly about a tough season that has seen his frequent podium finishes ruined by a chorus of boos from fans around the world.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who is behind the team, it has not been an easy season,” said an emotional Vettel on the podium. “From the outside people will think it was easy but it wasn’t.
“It has been hard for me in particular, to be booed when I have not done anything wrong was hard but I think I answered the things on the track which I am very pleased about. I am overwhelmed, I don’t know what to say but it is the best day of my life so far.”
And his accomplishments have been recognised by a man that achieved the same feat in 1993, Alain Prost. The Frenchman, who Vettel is often compared to with his calculated approach to racing, believes that there is more to come from the young German.
“I’m delighted to see Sebastian win the title today,” explained Prost. “He is a great driver and he has had some outstanding wins this year, some of the best of his career so far. You can see he is methodical in his approach, builds a strong team around him, is 100 percent motivated for success and is entirely focused on the end result.
“He is a great champion and I don’t think this title will be his last. He has a good team around him and of course he is still young enough to challenge for more.”
Within Formula One, Vettel’s skill, passion and intellect is well-known and highly respected. Fernando Alonso stood as Vettel’s only competitor ahead of Sunday’s race, the Ferrari driver having a difficult day with an eleventh place finish.
Although, Alonso was quick to compliment Vettel on his success and says that his focus is to secure second place in the Constructors Championship for Ferrari.
“I congratulate him,” Alonso said. “They’ve been very strong, very dominant, especially in the second half of the season, so they deserve to be champions.
“We need to start thinking for next year and try to make things more difficult for him.
“I think overall the weekend was not good enough and in Abu Dhabi we have to improve if we want to pass Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.”
The Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had a more positive result than in recent races, taking second and sixth places respectively.
“Massive congratulations to Seb on becoming four-time World Champion today,” said Hamilton. “That’s an awesome achievement and he’s put in some incredible performances this season. I really hope we get to take the fight to him next year!”