Sebastian Vettel, at 26 the youngest ever four-time Formula One world champion, has been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.
In addition, US swimmer Missy Franklin, at 18, becomes the youngest ever winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, and Spain's Marc Marquez receives the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award, after winning the World MotoGP Championship at just 20 years and 266 days.
There was double delight for both Germany and Spain when the Awards were announced. Bayern Munich joined Vettel as winners, taking the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, while tennis maestro Rafael Nadal received the Laureus Comeback Award to celebrate, with Márquez, a wonderful night for Spanish sport.
The winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen. Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since its inception, Laureus has raised €60 million for projects which have improved the lives of millions of young people.
Vettel's success was particularly satisfying for German, who had been nominated five times for a Laureus Award, before finally winning. His fourth straight World Championship in 2013 saw him join legends Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost, who all won at least four times, but he did it more quickly than them – at just 26 years and 116 days.
"It's a big honour," said Vettel following the low key ceremony, understandably overshadowed by the tragedy of flight MH370. "It's one of the most special trophies I have received."
The Awards Ceremony was held at the Istana Budaya, in Kuala Lumpur, ahead of this weekend's Grand Prixa, and was hosted by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, while German actor Daniel Bruhl, who played Niki Lauda in the film Rush, was present.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy present were: Giacomo Agostini, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Mick Doohan, Marvin Hagler, Tony Hawk, Michael Johnson, Franz Klammer, Ilie Nastase, Mark Spitz and Daley Thompson.