Sebastian Vettel celebrates after winning his third consecutive Formula… (Orlando Kissner / AFP/Getty…)
Sebastian Vettel captured his third straight Formula One championship Sunday, overcoming a first-lap crash to finish sixth in a Brazilian Grand Prix won by Jenson Button under pouring rain at Sao Paulo.
"It's difficult to find the right words," said Vettel, who at 25 became the youngest three-time champion in F1. "It's unbelievable. I'm still full of adrenaline. It was an incredible race."
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, F1's most successful driver, finished seventh in his final race after 19 seasons. Minutes before the race, he lapped the track with a flag with the words "Thank You." He used the radio to thank the mechanics and engineers he has worked with as well as his fans watching on TV.
Vettel appeared in big trouble after he was bumped shortly after the first lap and spun. He dropped to last place before he could turn his car around and start a difficult pursuit. But he steadily worked his way up the field and did what he had to — holding off Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only other driver contending for the title.
McIlroy wraps up big year
Rory McIlroy made five straight birdies down the stretch to overtake Justin Rose and win the Dubai World Championship, ending a historic year in which the 23-year-old Northern Irishman won the PGA Championship and the European and PGA tour money titles.
The top-ranked McIlroy recovered from early putting woes to finish at six-under-par 66 for a total 23-under 265 at the season-ending tournament in the United Arab Emirates. Rose, who was tied for seventh after three rounds, surged down the stretch into contention after shooting a course-record 62 that included an eagle and eight birdies.
Better Lucky became the biggest longshot winner in the history of the Grade I, $250,000 Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park, winning the mile turf race for fillies and mares by one length over Tiz Flirtatious at odds of 35-1 under jockey Eddie Castro. Summer Soiree finished third.
The 17-10 race favorite, Dayatthespa, appeared to panic in close quarters along the rail turning into the backstretch while in third place. She leaped up on her hind legs and tried to jump over the rail. Jockey Javier Castellano was hit in the mouth while steadying her. Dayatthespa, who came in with a five-race winning streak, finished fifth.
Castellano's day got better when he rode Unbridled Command to victory in the Grade I, $250,000 Hollywood Derby at 11/4 miles on the turf. Favorite Grandeur rallied to finish second. Lucky Chappy was third.
Chad Owens, Pacino Horne and Dontrelle Inman scored in the first half and the Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders, 35-22, at Toronto in the 100th Grey Cup.
Toronto earned its 16th Grey Cup title and first since 2004.
The daughter of Houston Rockets Coach Kevin McHale died at age 23.
Alexandra "Sasha" McHale died Saturday, and the team disclosed no other details Sunday.
Kevin McHale has been on leave since Nov. 10 to deal with what the team called a family matter.