Sebastian Vettel became Formula One's youngest-ever double world champion Sunday.
The 24-year-old Red Bull driver needed only a point from the Japanese Grand Prix to secure back-to-back titles but claimed 15 with a third place finish as McLaren's Jenson Button won Sunday's grand prix at Suzuka.
"Thank you so much, every single one," Vettel said over the team radio as he circuited the track in triumph. "We took nothing for granted, and we did it."
The German, who became the youngest winner of the drivers' championship in the final race of 2010, lifts his second title with four races remaining in the 2011 calendar after an utterly dominant campaign.
Button's victory Sunday was only the sixth time in 15 races this season that Vettel, the fifth-youngest driver on the grid, failed to take the checkered flag.
While Button, the 2009 world champion, claimed the win, Vettel was joined on the podium by fellow double world champion Fernando Alonso (2004, 2005), after the Ferrari driver finished second.
Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber improved from sixth at the start to a fourth-place finish ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes' Michael Schumacher.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who again clashed with Hamilton following a feud in the last race at Singapore, finished seventh ahead of Sauber's Sergio Perez and Renault's Vitaly Petrov. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes completed the top 10.