Red Bull driver becomes the youngest ever to win four titles.
Sebastian Vettel roared into history as Formula One’s youngest four-time champion in superlative style as he dominated the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Pole-sitter Vettel pitted early to change his soft tyres but then sped through the field to win 30 seconds ahead of Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg, with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean third.
The 26-year-old German becomes the youngest man to win four straight titles, with Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher the only other drivers to achieve the feat.
“Unbelievable day,” said the jubilant Vettel over the team radio. “We did it! Yes! Yes!”
Vettel celebrated in uproarious fashion by spinning doughnuts in front of the grandstand. He then stood on top of his Red Bull and saluted the crowd before bowing to his car in mock worship.
Despite team-mate Mark Webber’s retirement with a mechanical problem, Red Bull also sealed their fourth straight constructors’ title in what has become an era of dominance.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was Vettel’s nearest challenger going into the race but 90 points adrift, managed only 11th place.
Vettel’s sixth win in a row, 10th in 16 races this season and 36th of his career left him poised to shatter more records in the remaining three races in Abu Dhabi, America and Brazil.
If he wins all three, Vettel will equal Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in 2004 and become the only driver to secure nine consecutive victories in a season.
Italian Alberto Ascari drove a Ferrari for nine straight wins, but his run was spread over two seasons in 1952 and 1953.
The German, who won the Indian race in both 2011 and 2012, once again dominated the circuit with record times in all three practice sessions this year and a perfect qualifying round on Saturday.
Vettel, made a quick change to medium tyres after the second lap and dropped to the back of the field, but was he returned to second place by the 21st lap behind Webber.
The German regained the lead in the 30th lap but then saw Webber drop out of the race in the 40th due to gearbox problems.
As Vettel took charge in familiar fashion, his team were taking no chances in the pitlane and at one stage even admonished him for trying to set the fastest lap.
The big turnout at Buddh International Circuit would have pleased the organisers, who hope to return to Formula One in 2015 after being left out of the 2014 calendar.