Sao Paulo: Sebastian Vettel became the youngest triple champion in Formula One history when he finished sixth behind the victorious Jenson Button in a tumultuous Brazilian Grand Prix. (Agencies)
The 25-year-old German, who was involved in an opening lap collision with Williams' Bruno Senna on Sunday, which sent him to the rear of the field, made light of the damage to his Red Bull car as he fought back in a dramatic race run in treacherous rain-swept conditions at the Interlagos circuit.
Vettel's only title rival, two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, finished a fine second after a courageous drive for Ferrari, but it was not enough to overhaul a pre-race 13-point deficit as his German rival won the crown by just three points.
The race was littered with accidents and incidents and ended behind a safety car with Vettel bringing his car home in the rain in tears, unable to respond to the screamed congratulations from Red Bull team chief Christian Horner.
"This is really special. Right to the end I didn't know if I'd done enough. Trundling along behind the safety car and then dragging over the line was just torture," said Vettel.
Regarding his early collision which so nearly wrecked his race Vettel said: "I just kept trying to race. We always believed.
"I was so very happy to climb back after being hit like that at the start -- you imagine spinning backwards on the M25 (British motorway)... Not a very comfortable feeling.
"I really want to thank everyone in the team here and in the factory and all of us. Nobody feels more important than anybody else. It is unbelievable for me.
"I had to avoid everyone and I was lucky nobody hit me. Fortunately, the front wing was intact which was important. I forced back and in the mixed conditions I was the slowest car out there on the straight.
Sao Paulo: Sebastian Vettel became the youngest triple champion in Formula One history when he finished sixth behind the victorious Jenson Button in a tumultuous Brazilian Grand Prix.