Vettel won from pole position at a dramatic season finale and clinch his maiden F1 title after seeing other results go his way. 

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the favourite to win the title given that he was ahead of Mark Webber and Vettel in the championship going into the four-way showdown at Yas Marina. 

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But the Spaniard’s hopes of becoming a three-time world champion were dashed as he finished a frustrated seventh behind Vitaly Petrov when he only required a fourth place to seal the drivers’ crown. 

Vettel’s victory ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had a slim title chance, and Jenson Button, saw the 23-year-old German became the youngest champion in F1 history.

He finished the season four points clear of Alonso, 14 ahead of Red Bull teammate Webber, and 16 in front of Hamilton. 

“Probably because it was completely against the odds, Sebastian winning the last race in Abu Dhabi, because he hadn’t led the championship at all that year in 2010,” Horner said during a recent appearance at the Cambridge Union.  

“Fernando Alonso was the favourite to win that championship and that race, and literally against the odds, Sebastian won and where Fernando and Mark [Webber] finished behind him, was enough for him to become the world champion. 

“So it was completely against the odds.”

Verstappen and Vettel ‘totally different’ 

Horner was also asked how he compares four-time world champion Vettel to current star driver Max Verstappen, who sealed his first F1 title last season after coming out on top of a fierce battle with Hamilton

With an 80-point advantage over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc going into the final nine races of 2022, Verstappen appears well on course to successfully defend his crown and become a two-time world champion. 

“They are totally different,” explained Horner. “Sebastian is very meticulous, into every element of data, every aspect of what’s going on with the car, every component on the car. 

“He often would be the last to leave the circuit, and his debriefs… it would take him half an hour just to explain the formation lap, let alone the race. 

"Whereas Max is much more simplistic. He’s just this very raw talent. He’s the hungriest driver I’ve ever come across and he just wants to win. 

“He’ll give you very straightforward feedback, is very straightforward to his race engineer. They are like an old married couple at times. 

"But you know every lap he’s going to give you 110%. And he demands the same from the team. 

“So, they are very different personalities, very different characters. But I would say the one thing they do have in common, is their ambition.”