Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vettel joins select crowd of F1 triple champs

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SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Sebastian Vettel knows he is in good company. A few seconds after he crossed the finish line at the Brazilian Grand Prix, he started discussing the names of other three-time Formula One champions.

Including Vettel now, there are nine three-time champions in F1 -- Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham and Juan Manuel Fangio are the others.

"I'm extremely happy in the position I am. It's incredible what we have achieved," said Vettel, who was still celebrating when Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reminded him of the significance of his triumph.

"Christian came on the radio after the race and mentioned the names that have achieved similar, and he forgot Prost, so I told him, but I had no radio so he couldn't hear me," Vettel said.

The German driver lost radio communication back to the team early in the race. He overcame that and a first-lap crash to finish sixth and clinch the title over Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.

Vettel has outdone them all in one aspect, though -- becoming the youngest three-time champion at age 25. He also is the first to achieve three straight titles since Schumacher won five consecutive from 2000-04. The only other driver to win at least three straight titles was Juan Manuel Fangio from 1954-57.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 D4

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