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Vettel and Schumacher beat Button to win ROC Nations Cup 04 Nov 2009

Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher celebrate their Nations Cup victory, Bird's Nest stadium, Beijing, China, 3 November 2009. © Race of Champions Group photo of the drivers competing in the 2009 Race of Champions event, Bird's Nest stadium, Beijing, China, 3 November 2009. © Race of Champions Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher celebrate their Nations Cup victory, alongside runner-up pairing Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx, Bird's Nest stadium, Beijing, China, 3 November 2009. © Race of Champions

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher proved a winning combination during the first day of action at this year’s Race of Champions (ROC) event in Beijing on Tuesday.

The duo clinched their third successive Nations Cup victory for Germany in the Chinese city’s spectacular Bird’s Nest stadium, after beating the Team GB pairing of new Formula One world champion Jenson Button and three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx in the finals.

Schumacher beat Button in the final's first heat, while Vettel was beaten by Priaulx in the second. However in the crucial tiebreak decider, crowd favourite Schumacher took victory driving the unique Race of Champions Car.

“We had a nice fight - I just come back to this event to use whatever there is left of a talent,” said the former Ferrari driver. “With this track, it's just a case of watching where the other guy is to know how hard to push. Of course, the racing is the highlight but the other stuff that goes on around that is part of the relaxed atmosphere of the Race of Champions that we all enjoy.”

Vettel and Schumacher had already defeated teams including China and Finland to reach the semi-finals. There, they competed against American rally drivers Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrana. But, despite a heroic effort by Foust to beat Schumacher, Vettel's two wins took Team Germany to the final once again.

Vettel, who finished runner-up to Button in this year's F1 championship, was equally thrilled with Team Germany’s success, saying: “To win three times in a row is something that no one has done before, so it's a real reason to be proud.”

After his first taste of the ROC Nations Cup finals, Button was disappointed not to win: “To be out there celebrating being the first loser is never best, I don't like finishing second. It was a lot of fun - I spent most of the evening trying to hang on to my team mate's coat tails.”

The Formula One drivers were less successful in Wednesday's individual Race of Champions contest. Schumacher beat Vettel in the semi-finals, but then lost in the final to former DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom, who had earlier knocked out Button in his semi-final showdown.