Lauda: Vettel success will continue

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has become the youngest triple world champion in Formula One history.

Story highlights

  • Niki Lauda tips Sebastian Vettel to continue his title-winning success
  • Austrian driver says the German will leave Red Bull in future
  • Vettel's contract with the constructor is set to expire at the end of 2014
  • Williams confirm Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas as drivers for 2013

Germany's triple world champion Sebastian Vettel will continue to win titles even if he moves on from Red Bull, three-time world champion Niki Lauda has told CNN.

On Sunday, the 25-year-old became the youngest triple world champion in the history of the sport becoming only the third driver to win three consecutive titles, following in the footsteps of racing legends Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

After winning this year's title when finishing sixth in Brazil's Interlagos to beat Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by three points, the German said he was 'extremely committed' to a team he is contracted to until the end of 2014.

Nonetheless, Lauda says Vettel's quality is such that he will continue to beat the world's best when the inevitable happens and he moves on from Red Bull.

"He will eventually move somewhere else," said Lauda, who won his titles with both Ferrari (1975 and 1977) and McLaren (1984).

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"It's normal. Any skier changes his skis every year -- so you have to change your cars at least once in your history.

"I changed my racing cars three or four times in my career and still kept on winning. He will do something like this for sure as well."

    Vettel has been strongly linked with a move to Ferrari in recent months, although representatives at both Maranello and the Red Bull driver have tried to dampen the speculation.

    Since Lauda's last title, only three other drivers have won world championships with different manufacturers -- razil's Nelson Piquet (Brabham and Williams), Frenchman Alain Prost (McLaren and Williams) and Schumacher (Benetton and Ferrari).

    Lauda, who joined Mercedes as a non-executive chairman in September, believes that the Red Bull car's dominance has been key to Vettel's success.

    "Vettel is the top guy, [Lewis] Hamilton is the top guy, Alonso is the top guy, Schumacher is a top guy too," Lauda.

    "You need a car, and you need a driver. Vettel is for sure as good as Alonso is - but you need a better car."

    Vettel's latest triumph was greeted with delight in Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel among those leading the plaudits -- praising the driver's 'fabulous strength of character'.

    Prior to the German's success on Sunday, the previous youngest driver to win three titles was the late Ayrton Senna -- who achieved the feat at the age of 31.

    Meanwhile, Williams have confirmed Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas of Finland as their driver pairing for the 2013 season.

    Bottas replaces Brazil's Bruno Senna, the nephew of the late three-time world champion Ayrton Senna.

    'It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One world championship," the 23-year-old Bottas, a test driver for Williams in 2012, said in an official statement.

    "To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I've really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat.

    "I'm looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams."

    Maldonado enjoyed a successful second season in the sport, picking up the first race win of his fledgling career at this year's Spanish Grand Prix.