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Title glory for Vettel



31 MAR - 03 APR 2016

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest world champion in Formula One history with victory in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Monday morning.

The German Red Bull driver, 23, needed to win and hope for a poor performance from championship leader Fernando Alonso, and he got his wish, with the Ferrari man only able to manage a seventh-place finish at the Yas Marina circuit.

Alonso, eight points clear in the drivers' standings going into the last race of the season, could only manage third in qualifying and a flawed pit strategy left the two-time former title winner mired in traffic for much of the race.

Vettel's Red Bull teammate, Australian Mark Webber, led the world championship for the majority of the season and was second to Alonso as the weekend began, found himself stuck behind the Spaniard and unable to make a move.

The 33-year-old, who coaxed the maximum out of his vehicle for so much of the campaign, was unable to stage a late recovery and finished a disappointing eighth on the day and third in the final championship standings.

After a strong start from pole position, Vettel rarely looked vulnerable, with his first pit looming as the moment the race and the championship would be decided.

He completed a quick stop on Lap 24, emerging ahead of the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and Renault's Robert Kubica, and primed to return to first when McLaren's Jenson Button went in.

It took another 14 laps for the English reigning champion to make his first stop, but when he did Vettel inevitably moved into top spot, with the race then his to lose.

Only technical problems or a critical error stood in the way, and nether played a part as Vettel closed out the final laps ahead of McLaren duo Hamilton and Button, who came in second and third in the race and fourth and fifth in the championship respectively.

There will be an inquest in the Ferrari camp after Alonso was brought into the pits too soon, leaving him trapped behind Renault's Vitaly Petrov, who turned in a ruthless display to scupper the 29-year-old's hopes of a third world championship crown.

There was also moment of high drama as early as lap one, but not involving the championship leaders.

A collision between the two Mercedes of Michael Scumacher and Nico Rosberg ended with the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi mounting Schumacher's car and narrowly missing the head of the seven-time world champion German.

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