SAO PAULO: Sebastian Vettel became the youngest triple champion in Formula One history on Sunday when he finished sixth behind the victorious Jenson Button in a tumultuous Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 25-year-old German, who was involved in an opening lap collision, made light of the damage to his Red Bull car as he fought through the field in a dramatic race run in treacherous rain-swept conditions at the Interlagos circuit.
Vettel's only title rival, two-time champion Spaniard Fernnando Alonso, finished a fine second after a courageous drive for Ferrari, but it was not enough to overhaul a pre-race 13-points 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.
Vettel became only the third driver in Formula One history to win three successive titles, equalling the feats of the great Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio and his own childhood idol Michael Schumacher, who finished seventh for Mercedes in his final race before retiring.
Alonso's Ferrari team-mate, local hero Brazilian Felipe Massa, drove brilliantly to finish third ahead of Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull and German Nico Hulkenberg of Force India.
Hulkenberg played a prominent role in the race, not only leading for a spell but also crashing into Lewis Hamilton's McLaren to wreck the Briton's hopes of a triumphant conclusion to his career with the British team just when he looked sure of winning.
Vettel was sixth, Schumacher seventh in his last race before retirment and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne eighth for Toro Rosso ahead of Japanese Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber and Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.
Vettel, whose Red Bull team took a third constructors' championship in succession last weekend in Texas, finished with 281 points and Alonso with 278.
It was Briton Button's first win in Brazil, his third of the season and the 15th of his career.
Results from Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix Sunday:
1. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren Mercedes) 1hr 45min 22.656sec
2. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Scuderia Ferrari) at 2.754
3. Felipe Massa (BRA/Scuderia Ferrari) at 3.615
4. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull Racing) at 4.936
5. Nico H|lkenberg (GER/Force India) at 5.708
6. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull Racing) at 9.453
7. Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes AMG) at 11.907
8. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Scuderia Toro Rosso) at 28.653
9. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber) at 31.250
10. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus) at 1 lap
11. Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham) at 1 lap
12. Charles Pic (FRA/Marussia) at 1 lap
13. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Scuderia Toro Rosso) at 1 lap
14. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham) at 1 lap
15. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes AMG) at 1 lap
16. Timo Glock (GER/Marussia) at 1 lap
17. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT) at 2 laps
18. Narain Karthikeyan (IND/HRT) at 2 laps
19. Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India) at 3 laps
Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber): 1st lap
Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams): 1st lap
Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams): 2nd lap
Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus): 6th lap
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren Mercedes): 55th lap
Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India): 69th lap (classified)
Overall final standings
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 281.0pts, 2. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 278.0, 3. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) 207.0, 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 190.0, 5. Jenson Button (GBR) 188.0, 6. Mark Webber (AUS) 179.0, 7. Felipe Massa (BRA) 122.0, 8. Romain Grosjean (FRA) 96.0, 9. Nico Rosberg (GER) 93.0, 10. Sergio Perez (MEX) 66.0, 11. Nico H|lkenberg (GER) 63.0, 12. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) 60.0, 13. Michael Schumacher (GER) 49.0, 14. Paul di Resta (GBR) 46.0, 15. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) 45.0, 16. Bruno Senna (BRA) 31.0, 17. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) 16.0, 18. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 10.0
1. Red Bull Racing 460.0pts, 2. Scuderia Ferrari 400.0, 3. McLaren Mercedes 378.0, 4. Lotus 303.0, 5. Mercedes AMG 142.0, 6. Sauber 126.0, 7. Force India 109.0, 8. Williams 76.0, 9. Scuderia Toro Rosso 26.0