Champion Vettel salutes Red Bull
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Suzuka
Sebastian Vettel says driving in the last four races of 2011 as world champion makes his second title "more special" than his first last year.
The 24-year-old became the youngest double world champion in history when he wrapped up the title in Japan.
"Last year it was all over and there was a long time out of the car," said the Red Bull driver.
"It's a bit different this year and it makes it more special so I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
Vettel finished third in an exciting race in Suzuka but it was enough for the German to clinch back-to-back world titles.
He had already won nine races, finishing off the podium just once in Germany, to dominate his own team-mate Mark Webber and his rivals at McLaren and Ferrari in the championship.
"To win the championship here is pretty special and a bit funny at the same time as it is as confusing as the first one and all of sudden you are supposed to say 'yes that's the moment,'" an emotional Vettel explained after the race.
"Surely it will take a little bit of time. In the quiet moments I will have either tonight, tomorrow or in the next weeks for myself or for people who are very close to me. I will take time and let things sink in a little bit."
Asked if he ever, as he was starting his career, dreamt he would be a double world champion, he said: "I never imagined that I would win the world championship, and the second world championship, and Michael [Schumacher] drives past me doing this [thumbs up].
"That's really weird because when I was a little bot he was already Formula 1 world champion. So that imagination was far out of sight. It is those small things that make it really, really special.
He has marked himself out as one of the greats. At such a young age it's phenomenal what he's achieved in such a short space of time
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner
"Life for all of us doesn't get much better than this. It was a sunny day, lots of fans and everyone is excited to see what you do. To wrap up the championship here is difficult to put into words."
Vettel's achievement sees him become the ninth driver to win back-to-back world titles and the first to do so since Fernando Alonso's success with Renault in 2005 and 2006.
"He joins a very elite group now," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. "He has marked himself out as one of the greats.
"At such a young age it's phenomenal what he's achieved in such a short space of time.
"He will continue to grow from here. He is continuing to get stronger and to evolve as a driver and a person. The best is still to come.
"He strives for perfection and the work rate that he puts in is one of the things that marks him out."
Vettel may have won the championship but the 'perfectionist' wants to add more wins to his tally in the remaining races in Korea, India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.
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"There is a lot of pressure falling off but there is a lot of pressure on us because naturally we want to win," he said.
"We didn't beat those guys today so, we are over the moon by wrapping up the championship but we didn't win today.
"There is another chance in the next races and those chances we want to use."
On Sunday evening in Suzuka, Red Bull were already packing up and preparing for the next race in South Korea in seven day's time.
There is, after all, another title to wrap up for the second year in a row.
"Full focus will turn to Korea where we will be determined to consolidate our lead in the constructors' world championship," added Horner.