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Vettel youngest F1 champion

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Sebastian Vettel became the youngest champion in Formula One history Sunday, clinching the title when he won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso faltered in the season-ending race.

The Red Bull Racing driver started from the pole trailing Alonso by 15 points. Vettel, 23, ran trouble-free and Alonso finished seventh after Ferrari made an ill-advised decision to pit early and the Spaniard got stuck behind Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov for nearly 40 laps.

"It has been an incredible journey," Vettel said. "…It's been extremely intense, and a tough season mentally."

The German is six months younger than Lewis Hamilton was when he won the 2008 title.

Alonso, who started third and only needed to finish fourth to win the title, ended up four points behind Vettel.

After Rosberg crossed in fourth place, Vettel's team screamed over the car radio, "Weltmeister!" the German word for world champion.

"Unbelievable! Thank you," Vettel replied in a strained voice, barely able to speak.

Red Bull's Mark Webber came in behind Alonso and finished third overall, 14 points behind Vettel. Hamilton and Jenson Button gave McLaren second and third place, respectively; Hamilton entered the day with an extremely slim chance of winning the title.

It was the first time in F1's 60-year history that four drivers were in contention for the championship entering the finale.

NHRA: 15 for Force

POMONA, Calif. — John Force extended his series record with his 15th Funny Car season title, taking the NHRA Finals for his sixth victory this year.

Force, 61, beat Bob Bode in the final to become the oldest champion in NHRA history on the day the series crowned its youngest champion, 20-year-old Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet.

"I have to give credit to a strong powerful team of people and the young kids on my team," Force said.

Tonglet benefited from a first-round red-light by Andrew Hines, who had a 36-point lead,

Larry Dixon won his third Top Fuel championship.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), rookie Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won their classes.

EAST BAY RACEWAY: Bryan Bernhardt won the Late Model feature Saturday in Gibsonton.

Vettel youngest F1 champion 11/14/10 [Last modified: Sunday, November 14, 2010 10:43pm]
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