McLaren's Jenson Button may have been first to take the checkered lap after 53 laps around the Suzuka Circuit during Sunday's Japanese GP, but it was Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel who took top honors for this season when he sealed the 2011 Formula 1 drivers' title with third place--and with four races still left to run.
That makes the German, at 24 years and 98 days of age, the youngest double world champion in the history of the sport, and the most recent back-to-back titleholder since Fernando Alonso's consecutive championships in 2005 and 2006. Meanwhile, Red Bull Racing still has a bit of work to do to retain the constructors' crown, but with a 130-point lead over second-placed McLaren, the team is on course for another double this year.
Speaking of Red Bull Racing, we were actually guests of the team back at the Singapore GP two weeks ago through its fuel partner, the French oil firm Total. And not just regular guests, mind you, but VIP guests at the exclusive F1 Paddock Club. But hold that thought about our ridiculously good luck--despite this gem of an access, we still managed to miss Sebastian and his teammate Mark Webber during their brief appearances at the VIP hospitality area.
Fortunately, we were able to catch the defending champion team's boss, Christian Horner, when he came by to say hello right before the race. Here's a short video of him talking about the last leg of flyaway races for the 2011 season, and his team's top form this year. Watch for his answer to a guest's query as to which driver he prefers, too, as well as Mark's thoughts on his teammate's domination.
Lastly, check out the second video to see the Red Bull Racing pit crew in action during one of Sebastian's pit stops in Singapore. With a full tire change taking just over three seconds, Red Bull demonstrates that a flawless performance--along with hard work, developmental prowess and solid partnerships--is the way to win and retain championships.