Vettel is only the third driver to win four successive championships, after compatriot Michael Schumacher and the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio.
Only four drivers have ever won four titles - Fangio, Schumacher, Frenchman Alain Prost and now Vettel.
The following are some key facts about the champion:
- - - -
* 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).
* He switched to Red Bull for 2009 and 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 Hamilton in 2008, aged 23 and 301 days. Vettel is Germany's second F1 world champion, after Schumacher. He was nicknamed 'Baby Schumi' in his early days.
* In 2011 he won 11 grands prix with a record 15 poles, celebrating most victories with a raised index finger to indicate his status as number one.
* 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 and occasionally plays backgammon with him. He lives in Switzerland.
* Vettel showed a more controversial side to his character when he passed Australian team mate Mark Webber to win this year's Malaysian Grand Prix despite being told not to. The incident left the two barely on speaking terms.
* Vettel has also been booed on the podium, notably at Monza and Singapore. Hamilton said some fans were finding his domination boring.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Michael Schumacher
- Juan Manuel Fangio