SAO PAULO — Sebastian Vettel overcame a first-lap crash to capture his third straight Formula One championship title Sunday, finishing sixth in a Brazilian Grand Prix filled with crashes and won by Jenson Button under pouring rain.
Vettel became the youngest three-time champion in Formula One at age 25.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, F1’s most successful driver, finished seventh in his final race after 19 seasons.
Vettel appeared in big trouble after he was bumped shortly after the first lap and spun. The German dropped to last place before he could turn his car around and start a difficult pursuit, working his way up the field to hold off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the only other driver contending for the title, by three points.
Alonso had a superb start on a hectic first lap at Interlagos and finished second in the race, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Vettel’s 13-point lead in the standings coming into Brazil.