Vettel hit Formula One for four

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:48pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel was on such a record roll in 2013 that by the time Formula One rocks up for next year's season-opener in Australia it will be almost eight months since anyone else won a grand prix.

Even allowing for an August shutdown and three month winter break, that single statistic highlights just how demoralizing a year it has been for all those trying to beat Red Bull's quadruple world champion.

The cheeky-faced 26-year-old, soon to be a father, could have clinched his employers fourth successive constructors' championship on his own given that he amassed more points (397) than any other team over the 19 races.

The finger-pointing German chalked up nine wins in a row, the first time any driver has done that in a single campaign since the championship started in 1950, and 13 in total to equal compatriot Michael Schumacher's 2004 record with Ferrari.

The youngest quadruple champion also became the first to win his first four titles successively.

Rallying shrugged off nine years of Sebastien Loeb domination to crown another French Sebastien, Ogier, in a debut season for Volkswagen while MotoGP hailed the top category's youngest ever champion in Honda's 20-year-old Spanish sensation Marc Marquez.

But in Formula One and NASCAR, where Jimmie Johnson celebrated his sixth Sprint Cup championship in eight years, it was more of the same.

Some early rising television viewers may have opted to go back under the bedcovers, or take the dog for a walk, rather than watching Vettel win yet again but others were happy to give credit where it was due and recognize a special talent.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany is pictured as he poses for the media with the Red Bull team before the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker