For an appreciative student of F1 history - which Sebastian Vettel has shown many times in the past to be - the Red Bull driver's victory in the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Japan was a particular landmark.

It was Vettel's 24th Grand Prix win, putting him on an equal footing with one of the true legends of the sport: Argentina's fine-time world champion in the 1950s, Juan Manuel Fangio.

"Obviously I knew these kind of guys, when you talk about records ... We had great drivers in the past, great champions and great characters," said Vettel when this was pointed out to his surprise during the post-race press conference at Suzuka. I'm not aware of those kind of numbers but I think that's a special thing about F1.

"There's only a handful of us, 24 drivers in F1," he continued. "I think first of all you feel extremely fortunate and proud to be one of them and to race a F1 car, stand on the grid, winning a race, driving for championships.

"When I was young, I was following F1 and Michael most of the time. But you never dreamed, never imagined yourself being one of those guys and breaking any kind of record - even if it's just having the best start or something silly, which would already make you extremely proud."

Looking rather moved and emotional as he took stock of the little piece of history this weekend, he said: "I think it's an honour ... I think it's something we should not forget at any stage, and it's something very very special. I think it's one of the best jobs you can have in the world in my - in our - point of view."

The fact that tying Fangio's tally of wins came at the historic Suzuka track first built as a Honda test circuit in 1962 also added to the historic feel of the weekend for Vettel, as did getting to share the podium with Kamui Kobayashi - the first Japanese driver to claim a podium finish in F1 since Aguri Suzuki in 1990.

"The last time I was with Kamui on the podium it was probably in Formula Three and both of us had a dream for F1," he said. "You know you are a young guy, you are racing in Formula Three, you know it's only one or two steps away - but then it's so far away still.

"Unfortunately it's impossible to explain to you how it feels, so it's only something we share amongst ourselves," he admitted. "But then to be successful it obviously starts to feed on itself and makes it very, very enjoyable."

Sunday's Japanese GP proved so enjoyable that Vettel carried on setting fastest laps well into the race even when he had a huge margin over the rest of the field, and even when his team were sending him plaintive messages to slow down. But Vettel insisted that he'd not been taking any risks despite the lap times.

"I obviously wasn't trying to take any unnecessary risks," he said. "I didn't want to lose the focus and concentration and in the end, obviously I thought to myself maybe it's not the smartest thing but as I said, I wasn't trying to do something stupid.

"You don't get to race a car like that too often in your life, where you feel in control and the car is balanced and you're just very happy with what the car does, and how it behaves," he added.

There were no last minute dramas for Vettel and his perfect weekend finished with him slashing Fernando Alonso's lead in the championship to just 4pts with five races remaining.

"There are many races to go, so today I don't want to talk about the championship," he said. "I know I finished in front of everyone today, I won the race, so I know that I scored more points than anybody else today but you don't know what happens next weekend.

"I think we have a very tough remainder of the season with a very new calendar for all of us, with a lot of back-to-back races," he pointed out. "Basically next week Korea, then two races, one in India and Abu Dhabi, and then obviously America and Sao Paulo.

"I think there's still a long way to go and as I said, we have to focus on every single race and try to do our best and then we will see whether it's good enough."