Sebastian Vettel beat retired endurance racing legend Tom Kristensen to claim his maiden individual Race of Champions trophy at London’s former Olympic Games stadium.
Having shared a record six Nations Cup victories with Michael Schumacher, Vettel and his compatriot – Force India F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg – were denied this year’s Nations Cup crown by British touring car duo Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato.
With individual pride on the line, Vettel steered his way through early wins against rally ace Petter Solberg and Hülkenberg before going on to defeat defending ROC title-winner David Coulthard in the semi-final.
It was the first time that Vettel had made it beyond the semi-finals, and this time he would face Kristensen – a veteran of the previous three ROC finals, but without ever having won – in the decider.
Racing Radical SR3s in the first head, Vettel edged out Kristensen by a few-tenths of a second.
The second heat – where the duo would race against each other in ROC Buggies – was delayed when Kristen’s machine developed a misfire and dropped fuel on the makeshift track on his way to the start line.
The duo was forced back into the pits and swapped into KTM X-Bows while the track was cleaned, but the trophy would be handled to Vettel just seconds into Heat 2 when Kristensen buried his car in the barriers.
Image via Race of Champions