Title beckons as Vettel dominates Italian GP
11 September, 2011
Sep.11 (Mike Pettifer) After an uncomfortably hot day in the cockpit for many of the drivers, race winner Sebastian Vettel exuded coolness and confidence to take victory in Monza, moving to within touching distance of the world championship title.
With track temperatures tipping 40 degrees, the Tifosi crowd were out in their usual numbers, hoping to see Ferrari repeat the two podium positions of 2010. They were rewarded for their unwavering support, as Fernando Alonso took the lead into the first corner – Vettel dropping back into second, and Lewis Hamilton into third, after a nail-biting moment when the two cars touched.
The safety car was deployed on the first lap, after Vitantonio Liuzzi careered across turn one and took both Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov out of the race.
When the race was re-started a few laps later, there was a feeling of inevitability as Vettel immediately got into Alonso’s slipstream. It didn’t take long for the championship leader to re-claim first place, using all of the track, as well as a few blades of grass, to take the position back with an audacious move around the outside.
Hamilton was punished for a poor getaway on the re-start, as Michael Schumacher forced his way into third position. The Brit was made to regret not being more alert, as he was left embroiled in a battle with the German for the next 28 laps.
Schumacher made it as difficult as he could, driving as defensively as the rules would allow him, before being warned by Ross Brawn to leave Hamilton room – possibly avoiding a penalty.
As Vettel’s lead got bigger, Jenson Button began to find some pace after a poor start. Button soon found himself at the back of the Hamilton-Schumacher battle, after Mark Webber crashed out following a coming together with Felipe Massa.
The Brit soon passed them both to take third place with impressive over-taking moves. The race to catch Alonso was on as Button began closing the gap. On lap 38, after the second round of pit-stops, Button managed to overtake Alonso, with the help of the home straight DRS zone.
Hamilton who had come out of the second round of pit-stops marginally ahead of Schumacher, began to chase down Alonso – hoping to complete a double podium for McLaren. Although he got close, Alonso managed to hold on to third place, to the delight of the Tifosi.
Vettel was rarely troubled, and extended his championship lead to 112 points and the title his if he finishes on the podium in Singapore.
fter celebrating for the second time on the top step of the Monza podium – his first Italian GP win with Toro Rosso 2008 was also his first career win – the German said, “The podium is unbelieveable. You feel so blessed. The view is incredible, with all the people below. The car was amazing in qualifying – and ever better today. It’s very special for me to win here again.”
As always, in Italy pressure was on Ferrari to deliver, and Alonso obliged with third which was more than they would have expected before the race.
The Spaniard said, “Well done to the whole team. There was a lot of stress racing here in Italy. But we did the best job possible. It’s a great achievement to get on the podium.”
Sunday, 11 September – Race Result
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||53||1:20:46.172||1||25|
|2||4||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+9.5 secs||3||18|
|3||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||53||+16.9 secs||4||15|
|4||3||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+17.4 secs||2||12|
|5||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||53||+32.6 secs||8||10|
|6||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||53||+42.9 secs||6||8|
|7||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||52||+1 Lap||18||6|
|8||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||52||+1 Lap||11||4|
|9||9||Bruno Senna||Renault||52||+1 Lap||10||2|
|10||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||52||+1 Lap||16||1|
|11||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||52||+1 Lap||14|
|12||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||52||+1 Lap||13|
|13||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||51||+2 Laps||20|
|14||21||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||51||+2 Laps||19|
|15||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||51||+2 Laps||21|
|NC||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||39||+14 Laps||23|
|Ret||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||32||+21 Laps||15|
|Ret||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||21||+32 Laps||17|
|Ret||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||9||+44 Laps||12|
|Ret||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||4||+49 Laps||5|
|Ret||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||1||+52 Laps||22|