SAO PAULO, Nov 25, 2012 (AFP) - Australian Mark Webber said his Red Bull team-mate and triple champion Sebastian Vettel is now in "a club of his own" after Sunday's success in the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
Webber came in fourth but said the 25-year-old German had achieved something "very, very special" after claiming his third straight title by finishing sixth in a wild and rain-hit race at Interlagos.
"He's in a club on his own now," said Webber. "Very, very special to do it three times in a row. Last year was a little more straightforward, but this year was a bit more difficult, as was 2010.
"Three in a row is going some, for sure. So I congratulate him, it's a great effort."
Ironically, Webber almost made contact with Vettel at a rolling re-start following a mid-race Safety Car intervention, before diving onto the run-off.
"I was up nice and high and I was trying to get back into it, but I was on the white line and I had absolutely no grip," said Webber, who had previously fallen down the order following a collision with Japanese Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber.
"I tried to go wide and stay away from Sebastian," he added.
"It was quite a tricky race for Seb and I... The temperature wasn't super-easy for us to get into the car. But that race - it didn't disappoint in terms of drama, did it?"
After the race, Vettel revelled in the team's championship party and was lifted on to the champagne-drenched shoulders of two members of the Red Bull team as they celebrated this season's achievement.
All the team wore tee-shirts with 'Vettel' written across them, the first 'e' replaced by a '3' in recognition of the young German's outstanding achievement.
Vettel has now set a series of records.
In 2010, he became the youngest champion at the age of 23 and 135 days. The previous youngest was McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in 2008, aged 23 and 301 days.
He was also the youngest driver to score a point when he came eighth in the United States Grand Prix on his debut for BMW-Sauber in 2007.
In 2008, his win at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix at Monza from pole position in a winless Toro Rosso made him the youngest driver to start on pole (21 years and 72 days) and the youngest ever winner (21 years and 73 days).
He is also the youngest triple world champion.