Gary Paffett has secured the 2018 DTM drivers' title for Mercedes after finishing the final race of the season on the podium in third behind race winner Rene Rast and Marco Wittmann at the Hockenheimring.

Paffett arrived into the title decider with a seven-point championship lead ahead of his Mercedes team mate Paul di Resta, and a 14-point lead ahead of outgoing champion Rast.

However, with Di Resta starting the second race from eleventh, the race for the title proved to be a straight fight between the Mercedes of Paffett and the Audi of Rast.

Having already taken a record-breaking fifth consecutive in yesterday's race, Rast took the lead away from pole-man Wittmann at the very start of the race and superbly controlled proceedings as the race unfolded.

Rast did come under some degree of pressure from Wittmann during the opening laps but was able to pull away from the BMW driver prior to the pit-window, with Paffett looking comfortable and keeping a watching brief in third.

Indeed, Rast was able to retain his lead during the pit-window, while Paffett briefly leapfrogged Wittmann, who elected to run deeper into the race on his first set of tyres.

Wittmann once again regained his position ahead of Paffett on lap 22, with the latter of the duo seemingly content to bank his points in third position.

As Rast maintained the gap at around 5.0s to extend his record-breaking winning streak to six victories, Paffett followed Wittmann home in third to help Mercedes close their 30-year stint in the DTM with the 2018 drivers' crown.

Paffett's 2018 success marks his first DTM crown since taking the title back in the 2005 season. Rast managed to close within four-points of retaining his title, while a non-score for Di Resta in 14th meant the former F1-driver failed to the feature in the crescendo of the title race in third.

Nico Muller and Robin Frijns completed the top-five order for Audi behind Paffett in fourth and fifth, as BMW rounded out the remainder of the points paying positions with Bruno Spengler leading the M4 charge in sixth.