(Reuters) - Germany’s Sebastian Vettel won his third successive Formula One title for Red Bull at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, becoming the sport’s youngest triple champion at the age of 25 and in his 101st race.
Vettel is only the third driver to win three championships in a row and the ninth triple champion. The others are Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio and Germany’s Michael Schumacher.
The following are some key facts about Vettel:
Vettel was born in Heppenheim, a town surrounded by vineyards between Heidelberg and Darmstadt, on July 3, 1987. He started out racing karts at the age of eight.
The German won 18 of 20 races in the 2004 German Formula BMW championship. The following year he was top rookie in the Formula Three Euroseries, won by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.
He became the youngest driver to take part in a grand prix weekend when he drove for BMW-Sauber in Friday practice in Turkey in 2006, aged 19 and 53 days.
In 2007 Vettel made his Formula One race debut with BMW-Sauber at Indianapolis, replacing the injured Robert Kubica, and finished eighth - making him the youngest F1 driver to score a point aged 19 and 349 days.
Vettel started seven races with Toro Rosso in 2007 and all of the 2008 season, when he set more records. His win at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza from pole position made him the youngest driver to start on pole (21 years and 72 days) and youngest ever winner (21 years and 73 days).
Vettel switched to Red Bull for 2009 after Britain’s David Coulthard retired. He took the team’s first victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, where he also handed Red Bull a first pole and led their first one-two finish. He ended that season as overall runner-up to Briton Jenson Button.
In 2010, he became Formula One’s youngest champion at the age of 23 and 135 days. The previous youngest was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in 2008, aged 23 and 301 days. Vettel is Germany’s second F1 world champion, after Schumacher. The younger German was nicknamed ‘Baby Schumi’ in his early days.
Known as a bit of a joker, with a love of British humour and the Beatles, Vettel has no manager but is close to Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, with whom he occasionally plays backgammon. He lives in Switzerland.
The German has won five races this season. In 2011 he won 11 grands prix with a record 15 poles.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alison Wildey