It means British riders have claimed a clean sweep of this year’s Grand Tours, after Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France and Chris Froome triumphed in the Giro d’Italia.
Yates, who rides for the Mitchelton-Scott team, said the triple victory was “astonishing”, adding: “Growing up I was so accustomed to seeing the French, Italian and Spanish riders lead the way, so for myself, Chris and Geraint to all win a Grand Tour in the same year just shows how far the sport has come in this country.”
Froome said it had been a “perfect year for British riders”.
“Simon has looked so strong over the last three weeks and it’s great to see him take home the maillot rojo,” he said.
Thomas and Froome, the defending Vuelta champion, did not take part.
Yates, 26, from Bury in Greater Manchester, headed into Sunday’s ride with a lead of one minute and 46 seconds, managing to avoid any mishaps during the largely processional finale.
He was dominant throughout the three-week race, finishing with an overall time was 82 hours, five minutes and 58 seconds.
Enric Mas was second and Miguel Angel Lopez third.
Yates has a twin brother, Adam, who is also a professional cyclist and was placed fourth overall in the Tour de France in 2016.
Simon Yates also has a good record in the Tour, having come 7th overall in 2017 and taking the white jersey as fastest young rider.
In the Giro d’Italia, Yates held the top spot in the general classification earlier this year before seemingly running out of steam in the race which Froome eventually won.
Yates has previously competed for the British national team, winning a gold in the Track World Championships in 2013 and third overall in the Tour of Britain in the same year it was won by Sir Bradley Wiggins.