There aren’t many four-time Formula One world champions to speak of. In terms of scarcity they’re up there with hen’s teeth, tires that last a whole race and single-dollar bills in Bernie Ecclestone’s wallet.
Of the hundreds of drivers who have pitted their wits in one of the world’s top motorsport divisions since 1950, only four have sealed a quadruple of titles: Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel entered this elite club with his win in India on Sunday and, for once, topped the podium to cheers rather than the boos that have become all too regular for the young German this season.
Speaking to reporters after the race the man from Heppenheim said: "It's very difficult for me personally, to receive boos, even though you haven't done anything wrong.
"At the time it hurts not to get the reception you expect but I think I'm clever enough to understand why they do it. I'm not blaming them."
How sad that a man of just 26, who possesses era-defining talent and a history-making record of achievement should have to contend with such negativism.
For any in doubt, Vettel’s numbers should help illuminate.
Of 117 grand prix, Vettel has finished on the podium in nearly 70% of his races, 42% as the man at the top. Schumacher’s win rate was 29% and Prost’s 26%, only the master Fangio is better at 47% .
That’s a staggering rate of return given that Vettel, unlike Lewis Hamilton for example, did not begin his career in a car capable of winning (after stints with BMW Sauber and then Torro Rosso.)
Who knows how many titles Ayrton Senna would have secured if his life had not been cut so tragically short. Happily for Vettel, the peak of his driving career lies ahead of him.
Critics often point to the Red Bull being technically far in advance of any other car on the grid, but how often has Mark Webber delivered with much the same equipment?
How many times has Webber withstood the pressure of the fading qualifying window to perfect a lap time for pole, or stretched the performance of his tires to get an edge on his rivals?
How many others have remained as cool when leading the field or negotiated the chaos of the first corner to emerge unscathed?
Vettel has delivered time and time again this season and when Red Bull design genius Adrian Newey - who has previously worked with Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen - says his charge has no chinks left in his armour you better believe him.
Mansell, who spoke to me at his recently opened museum, agreed with the appraisal: “Sebastian is a class act. He made mistakes three or four years ago, when he won his first world championship. He doesn't really make mistakes [anymore], he makes the right decisions at the right time.
“He is very good at getting everybody behind him, he's super cool now, under extreme pressure at times. And he knows what he can do and he knows exactly what the opposition can do before it happens so, he's a step ahead.
“I feel he deserves the accolade in the present crop of drivers and cars and everything else, he's the best there is. And that's not just because I'm a fan of his and I think I am a fan of his. I think that is not correct that he's getting booed.”
The ability to get the team working for you as a driver is an underplayed skill in Formula One, and one that British Formula One broadcaster Murray Walker argues has been a key attribute of Vettel.
“He's an absolutely brilliant driver and he's got enormous talent in making the team work for him rather than his teammate which is something Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna were both very good at,” Walker told CNN.
Driving skill and team politics aside, how many other drivers have remained on such good terms with so many other pilots on the grid when dominating them?
Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso heartily congratulated Vettel on his title win as did Hamilton, who even suggested the German was on his way to becoming the “greatest in F1”. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean revealed to CNN a side to Vettel that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner often talks about but is not always seen.
“He is quite funny. Every time we are together on the podium, we have a good laugh and we like to share jokes. I can understand German when he speaks German, he can understand French when I speak French so we always joke about it and he's a nice young man,” Grosjean said.
Vettel is erudite, mature beyond his years, prodigiously skilled and private and humble in comparison to many of his contemporaries in the world of elite sporting athletes.
Already he has a decent claim to be the greatest ever and this will surely only strengthen over time. Is it his fault that there are no rivals strong enough to test him fully?