September 11, 2011
Vettel cruises to Italian GP win
By SPORTS NETWORK
MONZA, Italy -- Sebastian Vettel inched closer to capturing his second straight Formula One world championship after winning Sunday's Italian Grand Prix in dominating fashion.
Vettel started on the pole, but to the crowd's delight, Fernando Alonso from Ferrari charged from fourth to take the lead from the Red Bull Racing driver in the first corner of the opening lap.
Just after Alonso took the lead, a multi-car crash occurred when Nico Rosberg, Vitaly Petrov, Daniel Ricciardo and Vitantonio Liuzzi made contact, prompting the deployment of the safety car. When the race resumed on lap four, Vettel chased down Alonso and then overtook him for the lead on the following lap.
Vettel never looked back from there, as he crossed the finish line 9.59 seconds ahead of Jenson Button from McLaren.
After winning at the Monza circuit for the second time, Vettel had a tearful moment during the podium ceremony. In the 2008 Italian GP, Vettel became the youngest race winner and pole sitter at age 21. The young German drove for Toro Rosso at the time. He moved over to Red Bull the following year.
"The circuit means a lot to me and has been very special with my first win here," he said. "The podium is unbelievable. You stand up there and feel so blessed. It doesn't happen to that many people. This has been a circuit that's been tough for us to be really competitive enough the past two years, but this year, the car was amazing."
Vettel claimed his eighth win of the season and the 18th of his F1 career. He also widened his points lead to 112 over Alonso, who moved into second place in the standings. Vettel has an opportunity to clinch the title later this month in Singapore.
"It's been an incredible year so far; we have progressed so much as a team and become so much stronger the past two years," Vettel added.
Button is just five points behind Alonso after his second-place run.
"It was a really fun race, fighting with [teammate] Lewis [Hamilton], Michael [Schumacher] and Fernando," Button said.
Alonso wound up finishing third. The Spaniard won last year's Italian GP in his maiden season with Ferrari.
"We maximized our potential at the start and led for a couple of laps, but we were not competitive enough to fight for victory," he said.
Hamilton took the fourth spot, while Schumacher drove his Mercedes GP car to a fifth-place finish.
Alonso's teammate, Felipe Massa, finished sixth, followed by Jaime Alguersuari from Toro Rosso and Force India's Paul di Resta.
Bruno Senna from Renault and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi completed the top-10.
Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, entered the 53-lap race at Monza second in the point standings, but Webber crashed early in the event and wound up finishing 20th. He is now 117 points behind his teammate.