Vettel wins Race of Champions, England takes Nations Cup [w/videos]

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Every year, at the end of the racing season, drivers from various racing disciplines gather for the Race of Champions. After venturing in recent years to Beijing, Düsseldorf, Bangkok, and Barbados, this year's event returned to London. And once all the dust and tire smoke had settled, it was Sebastian Vettel who was crowned the Champion of Champions, and the English team of Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato who took the Nations Cup. Vettel had previously won the Nations' Cup for Germany together with Michael Schumacher six times, but with his mentor still recovering from massive head trauma, Vettel stepped out on his own and secured the singles titles himself this year. And he had some major competition to contend with in order to do so.

Vettel partnered with reigning Le Mans winner and fellow F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg for Germany. Australia was represented by Daniel Ricciardo and former motorcycle champion Mick Doohan, Brazil by F1 driver Felipe Massa and reigning Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr, Scandinavia by Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and rally driver Peter Solberg, the Americas by Indy star Ryan Hunter-Reay and touring car champion José María López, Scotland by former F1 driver David Coulthard and F1 test driver Susie Wolff, and England by two teams consisting of touring car champions Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx, and another of F1 champ Jenson Button and endurance racer Alex Buncombe. F1 driver Romain Grosjean (who won the event in 2012) partnered with six-time Olympic cycling gold-medalist Chris Hoy in the All-Stars team, and newcomers Joylon Palmer and Pascal Wehrlein paired as Young Stars. They faced off in a wide array of machinery, including the Mercedes-AMG GT, Ariel Atom, Radical SR3, KTM X-Bow, even custom racing buggies and European stock cars.

After a series of elimination rounds, the semi-finals saw nine-time Le Mans winner Kristensen knock reigning Blancpain Endurance Series champion Buncombe out of contention. Meanwhile Vettel eliminated Coulthard, who was defending the Champion of Champions title he won last year. That set up Vettel and Kristensen – both multiple champions from their respective disciplines – for a face off in the Grand Final. It was the first time Vettel made it that far, but the fourth trip into the final round for Kristensen. And ultimately Seb took the win.

Vettel and Hulkenberg put up a strong fight for Team Germany the night before, making it into the final round in the bitter cold at London's Olympic Stadium. But eventually they lost to Priaulx and Plato, who between them have four World Touring Car Championship titles and two British Touring Car Championship titles. This marked the first time that a British team won the national competition, matching Vettel's honor of becoming the first German to win the singles title. And the trophies will surely be welcome additions to their display cases alongside all those race wins and championship titles.

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