Updated: Vettel gets Mario Andretti Trophy

Sebastian Vettel receives the Mario Andretti Trophy from the man himself

Sebastian Vettel receives the Mario Andretti Trophy from the man himself

Jan.27 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel has received yet another accolade since becoming Formula 1 World Champion when he received the Mario Andretti Trophy from the American motorsport legend himself.

During the fucntion Vettel was clearly moved by the accolade  and meeting Andretti, “Receiving this award is an honour in itself but being handed it by Mario made it even more special. He’s one of the greatest racing drivers of all time and is a real legend in the United States,” said the German.

The Mario Andretti Trophy, presented by Speed to their Performer of the Year, goes to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on sport’s biggest stages and does it all with a touch of sportsmanship and class.

Vettel, at 23, became the youngest ever F1 World Champion after his victory in the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Andretti said, “I follow F1 very closely and knew of Sebastian’s plight last season. At one point, he was almost out of the championship running and few people would have bet on him. But Sebastian didn’t give up. He fought until the end and he got it done.”

“I watched him with respect and admiration — greatly appreciating what he was doing. He was at the top of his game. It took concentration that was all-consuming. It took fierce determination and tenacity,” said the American motorsport icon.

The 1978 F1 World Champion added, “At the world class level, it truly is mind over muscle, mind over competition, mind over everything. That’s why nobody deserves this trophy more than him. He is a perfect example of what this award is about. It’s about someone who perseveres.”

Andretti concluded, “Someone who fights until the last lap of the season. Even when the odds are against you, you believe in your heart you can get it done. That’s a real champion. That’s the spirit of this award and I can’t wait to present it to Sebastian because I truly believe he deserves it.”

Vettel said, ” I am most grateful for is the fact that I am allowed to get awards and prizes for doing the thing that I love. I am truly blessed. It really was a bit of an emotional ride yesterday and I was very touched by Mario’s kind words. I almost can’t put into words how happy and thankful I am.”

Former Mario Andretti Trophy winners and runner-ups:

• 2006 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR & Nicky Hayden, MotoGP
• 2007 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR & Donny Schatz, World of Outlaws
• 2008 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR & Tony Schumacher, NHRA
• 2009 – Tony Schumacher, NHRA & Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR