With a 'Thumbs Up' from Schumacher, Vettel Wins Second F1 World Title

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Webber won, or was he given the victory for the last race of the 2011 F1 season?

Mark Webber won last Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, the 19th and last race of the 2011 F1 World Championship, in what is a scant consolation in a season that was all about one driver: his teammate Sebastian Vettel. The latter finished yesterday in second place due to reported clutch problems. Was this done on purpose in order to keep Webber happy and induce him to stick with Red Bull for next season? That doesn't matter.

The championship battles had been decided months ago in favor of Vettel and Red Bull Racing, as the second half of the F1 season was played out as one of the longest "garbage time" periods in the sport's history. It was a great season for Vettel who finished as the World Champion for a second year running with 392 points (a record for the season), 122 points in front of McLaren's Jenson Button who finished in second in the drivers' championship (another record). Vettel also had 11 wins (but failed to break Michael Schumacher's record of 13 wins in 2004) and 15 pole positions (another season record).

Last year Vettel came from behind to win the championship in the last race, as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso got stuck behind Vitally Petrov in a Renault on the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit. He was unable to overtake the Russian and in so doing served the championship on a plate to Vettel. This time around Vettel didn't need any kind of service. He won the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, and never looked back. He won five of the first six races and established his superiority over his teammate, Webber, and Red Bull's car over those from McLaren and Ferrari. In no stage of the season was he in danger of losing his title.

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"To win the championship here is pretty special and a bit funny at the same time as it is as confusing as the first one and all of sudden you are supposed to say 'yes that's the moment,'" said Vettel after he secured the title at the Japanese Grand Prix. "Surely it will take a little bit of time. In the quiet moments I will have either tonight, tomorrow or in the next weeks for myself or for people who are very close to me. I will take time and let things sink in a little bit. "I never imagined that I would win the world championship, and the second world championship, and Michael (Schumacher) drives past me doing this (thumbs up).

That's really weird because when I was a little boy he was already Formula 1 World Champion. So that imagination was far out of sight. It is those small things that make it really, really special." Photos courtesy of Sutton Images.

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