Vettel has title in sight after crushing Monza win

2011 Italian Grand Prix review

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Sebastian Vettel can win the world championship at the next race following his eighth win of the year at Monza.

Vettel fell behind Fernando Alonso at the start but passed the Ferrari early on and pulled away.

Jenson Button took second place while Alonso held on to claim the final podium place in front of Lewis Hamilton.

Liuzzi causes chaos at the start

Alonso made a flying start to the race, vaulting up from fourth on the grid to take the lead. He dived down the inside of Vettel and Hamilton, the trio heading into the first corner side-by-side.

Alonso emerged in the lead ahead of Vettel, Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, who made another good start from eighth. But behind them a multi-car crash brought out the safety car.

Vitantonio Liuzzi had lost got onto the grass on the way to the first chicane, lost control of his HRT, and hurtled backwards into the cars negotiating the Rettifilio.

He took out Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov and the wrecked cars blocked the track, causing Rubens Barrichello to come to a stop. The safety car was summoned while the marshals cleared the three wrecked cars from the track.

This brought a temporary halt to Vettel’s attempts to get his lead back from Alonso. But as soon as the race resumed the Red Bull was on the prowl, searching for a way around the Ferrari, looking down the outside of the della Roggia after the safety car came in.

Vettel soon drew along the outside of Alonso at the exit of Rettifilio, and put two wheels on the grass at Curva Grande as Alonso tried to squeeze him wide.

Vettel kept his foot in, held the inside line for the della Roggia chicane, and claimed the lead of the race. It was a fabulously brave pass and all the more impressive for being accomplished without DRS.

Hamilton battles with Schumacher

Alonso now briefly came under attack – but not from Hamilton. Schumacher had taken advantage of the restart to claim third off the McLaren. Hamilton later admitted he was too busy keeping an eye on the Mercedes in his mirrors to notice Alonso scampering off as the safety car came in.

This began a long, frustrating race for Hamilton who tried every which way to prise third place off the Mercedes.

On lap 13 he got past at the Rettifilio, but failed to cover the inside of the following chicane, allowing Schumacher through again.

As Schumacher’s tyres deteriorated Hamilton’s passing attempts became more aggressive. He tried to poke his nose down the inside at the Curva Grande but had to back out of the move. This allowed Button to pounce and take fourth place off his team mate.

He then proceeded to pass Schumacher with his first attempt on the outside of Ascari – a galling sight for Hamilton.

Schumacher came into the pits at the end of the lap, followed by Button on the next lap and Hamilton the lap after that. Button stayed ahead, but Hamilton was condemned to fall behind the Mercedes once again.

Hamilton launched another series of attempts to pass, often drawing alongside Schumacher through the DRS zone between Lesmo 2 and Ascari. Eventually, Ross Brawn warned Schumacher he was not leaving Hamilton enough room when moving to protect his racing line. Halfway through the race, Hamilton finally claimed back the place he had lost following the restart.

Hamilton began to close the gap to Alonso and Button. They switched to medium tyres at their final pit stops and Button capitalised on the Ferrari’s weakness on harder tyres to out-drag Alonso at the exit of Rettifilio and claim second place.

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The other McLaren closed in quickly over the last stint and began the final lap one second behind Alonso. He had his DRS open heading towards Ascari but couldn’t get close enough to pass the Ferrari, crossing the line half a second behind.

Webber and Massa tangle

Felipe Massa recovered to sixth place after an early tangle with Mark Webber. Webber had gone down the outside of Massa heading into the Rettifilio, but Massa squeezed the Red Bull driver onto the kerbs. From there, Webber could do little to avoid hitting the Ferrari.

Massa was able to continue but as Webber returned to the pits with damage the front wing folded under his front wing, sending him into the barriers at Parabolica.

This briefly promoted Pastor Maldonado to sixth place. But he was defenceless against his pursuers, led by Massa, who came past him one by one on the start/finish line using DRS.

Jaime Alguersuari claimed seventh place. Team mate Sebastien Buemi had been running behind him but slipped to tenth. The last driver to demote him was Bruno Senna, who made a bold pass from a long way back at the Rettifilio late in the race.

Maldonado and Barrichello finished out of the points. Four other cars were running at the end, including Daniel Ricciardo who was not classified having failed to get away at the start.

Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock were the only remaining finishers on a day when the retirement rate was high.

Both Saubers retired during the race, Sergio Perez dropping out after running more than half the race on medium tyres. Adrian Sutil and Jerome D’Ambrosio joined them in retirement.

After his pass on Alonso, Vettel enjoyed a straightforward race at a track where Red Bull have struggled in the past. He described the win as “very emotional”.

“This circuit means a lot to me and has been very special. Obviously my first win here. So when I crossed the line I remembered every single bit and the podium is unbelievable. You stand up there and you feel so blessed because it doesn’t happen to many people.”

His eighth win of 2011 means he can win the world championship in the next race at Singapore.

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2011 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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81 comments on “Vettel has title in sight after crushing Monza win”

  1. Stunning performance. If he doesn’t win DOTD this time than he never will.

    1. Problems is there’s always another driver doing great on the track, and as Vettel’s barely shown by the cameras, he gets less votes.

      He’ll get mine tho. His move around the outside at Curva Grande was fabulous!

      1. Agree, driver of the weekend by an absolute mile this time.

      2. I can see me going for Vettel as well. He was just showing the rest of the field up.

    2. It’s technically a DOTW poll ;) I’m just being picky though.

      1. Which should really help Vettel as he was so much faster, partly again thanks to timing it right with being the last on track in Q3, right?

        I suppose Alonso’s 4th grid slot deserves praise too, but after his start his car just didn’t allow him to do much more, and he himself felt that had HAM gotten up to speed earlier he would not have had podium. Well done with what he had, but not DOTW. Button botched the start again. MSC had a great weekend, but not sure better driving than Vettel.

    3. I think he will win the DOTW poll this time. I thought what he did at Monaco was the best Vettel could ever drive. But he was even better today. Shame on Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Button and the rest.

      At the end of the season while making driver rankings, I hope we can give rank1 to Seb, leave rank2 and rank3 empty and rank others from 4 onwards. That’s how good Seb has been this race and all season.

      1. Seriously, he was that good in Monza.

        When he went around the outside of Alonso it was as if a torch had been passed. It was very reminiscent of when Alonso went around the outside of Schumacher at 130R in 2005.

        The emotion of it all is finally sinking in for Vettel and he just seems to be getting faster. I think it’s time we recognize this is more than a fast kid in a great car, this is the best driver in the world.

  2. Jenson Button took third place while Alonso held on to claim the final podium place in front of Lewis Hamilton. – A wee mistake Keith haha!

    1. Wow i didnt know there were actually 4 Steps on the Podium lol.I didnt see Lewis at the 4th Step!!!

  3. I really liked the podium. There was so much feeling to it.

    Vettel has just realized what it gives one to win at such an historic place as Monza. All the passion the crowd gives to you – even if you are not the main target of their affection.

    Alonso of course knew the feeling all too well, this could have been such a motivation for him to keep that final podium spot – which he wouldn’t have been able to do without Michael’s aid nevertheless. He has done so well, again giving his all, making no mistake. Knew the crowd, knew it liked him, and acted wonderfully on the podium – taking a bow, spraying champagne, throwing hat, etc.

    It was the most passionate podium of the year.

    1. I agree! That podium ceremony was the best of the year so far. I liked to see Vettel crying a little, possibly in memory of his first win here in 2008.
      I just love when you can feel the atmosphere and the passion through your TV screen, that is just something special. I especially loved when Alonso had gained the lead and you could hear the crowd over the sound of the engines. That was very special, even when i don’t like Alonso. It also happened in Spain and it gave me chills on both occasions. It is just F1 at it’s best.

    2. I’ve always liked that about Seb, he has a real respect for the history and status of certain places. I remember his reaction to winning at Silverstone was great too.

      1. I always liked that about Seb too, I think it is an important thing for a driver to have.

        And though like mads I’m not exactly an Alonso fan, hearing the Tifosi drown out the sound of the engines with their cheering was incredible. A truly special moment in a truly special race.

  4. Good Race. Vettel did a clean job. Nice to see 5 world champions finishing in top 5. Maybe it is coincidence or maybe it has to say something about talent.

    1. ” Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian as a teammate. Jenson didn’t have that at Brawn; he had Rubens ” 

      Mark Webber does nothing to enhance his friendship with Rubens Barrichello, or the worth of Jenson Button’s world title
      September 8, 2011

      1. I would have to agree with Mark. Vettel is probably the toughest teammate he has ever had. And lets face it, most drivers would hope to have Rubens as their teammate.

      2. Are you suggesting Vettel is as easy-a-beat as Rubens??????

        1. I think webber is saying if he had a team mate ont he level as Rubens he could have beaten him and be world champion. But instead he has better which is on a different class that he can’t beat as easy.

      3. Rubens outqualified Jenson throughout the 2009 season. So, its not fair on Webber to have commented like that.
        Even if he has a tough team-mate like Vettel, one cant brush aside the fact that Webber is yet to win a race in 2011! Even if he cant beat Vettel, he atleast has to beat everyone else on the grid as Red Bull is miles ahead of other cars, which Webber didnt do!

        1. Problem is, Rubens didn’t outrace Jenson. Gaining a handful of points in the second half of the season didn’t outweigh Button’s superiority in the first half.

  5. Good race though It’s shame the championship is virtually over,

    1. We’ve known that much since the last 8 races or so, haven’t we?

      1. Not really, since Silverstone RBR began loosing ground up until the brake. They looked hardly themselves in Germany and Hungary but they figured out something in meantime… Today, the gap was ridicilous…

  6. Stunning pass on ALonso from Vettel, excellent racing from Button, brilliant defending from Schumacher, sloppy driving from Hamilton.

  7. Not a good day for Webber fans, he did however make a good start, not that it did him any good with a slow JB right in front of him. Luckily ( or maybe not ) he was just ahead of the group that got T-boned in cnr 1. Let’s hope he can put together a good Q3 and a good start for the rest of the season, especially now he has to beat Alonso and Button for p2 in the WDC.

  8. Yes, I can understand why it was such an emotional win for Vettel. He had a great race again, with the important pass to get ahead of Alonso having been a beautifull one as well.

    Just as Button has grown stronger after winning the championship, Vettel is getting better with each race as well.
    And while its a shame we never got to see what either Petrov, or more exiting Rosberg might have been able to do, there was plenty of action along the field.

    Vettel will be able to match Schu in getting the championship in the bag with 5 more races remaining in the WDC, I bet he will be giving it all he can to do that. And I must say he has been doing the best job ever of getting a back to back championship as well.

  9. I agree with EJ about the prospect of Vettel winning the title in Singapore to stop all this nonsense about anyone else winning it and let all the top few drivers just go for it without the added pressure of the championship. Last year was great in the fact that so many drivers were in the title fight and it went down to the last race but by half way through this season (or dare I say before that) most people were convinced that Vettel was going to take it. Though I almost want him to win it at Suzuka with a hat-trick!

    1. I think he will win it before then and still complete the hat trick at Suzuka, he’s been unstoppable there lately.

  10. themagicofspeed (@)
    11th September 2011, 17:43

    Lets hope Vettel either gets taken out or has bad luck/failures in last set of races, to blow the WDC wide open.

    That of course, will never happen.

    In the mean time, F1 waits to be brought back from the dead.

    1. The quality of racing is still high, it’s just that the best package keeps winning.

    2. Even if Vettel should be kept away from the last 6 races it is unlikely that any particular driver of the 4 pursuers will be able to bag 4 wins plus 2 not so bad results. In effect the title race is almost over. And if You think F1 is dead because of this, You should never have started watching it, because it has never been better than it was last year and this year in all the 35 years I’ve been following it. Your favourite driver don’t win this year and probably not next year either – get over it. F1 is some of the best sport to follow, sporting wise, team-wise, technology wise, engineering wise!

      1. this has been a great season in terms of the racing (though not all of it – i have been annoyed at the drs particularly at spa and canada, and expected it to be boringly easy here too, but was pleasantly surprised – though it’s circumstantial, dependent on which car is chasing/following).

        however, we all loved the championship battle seasons like ’98 or ’00, or even ’06 where there was a tension throughout which made even the dull races seem edgy and important. a dull race in 2011, particularly from now on in, will be pretty awful to watch.

  11. This race is the first race this year that Vettel drove like a true champion. I am not taking away anything from him, he deserves all the credits. But he hasn’t done anything remarkable that makes you think “whoa that was an amazing drive”. This race is the first time this year that I have felt this about his driving.

    1. Monaco was leaps and bounds ahead of anything I’ve seen from any other competitor. What did you not find worthy during that race?

      1. Not to mention Spain and Belgium too.

        1. Well let’s face it, he lucked into the Spa win. That was almost an unwinnable race for Red Bull without the safety car

          1. Lucked by passing several cars and controlling the race? Yeah, sure.

  12. It would be interesting to see the best lap time of each driver.

  13. So much for gear ratios.
    Mclaren are no longer trying to do their race, rather, they are trying to immitate Redbull, forgetting that the vehicle dynamics are completely different.

  14. I enjoyed this race a lot, despite Massa being involved in a tangle, Alonso losing places after his wonderful start and Liuzzi not making it past turn 1.

    1. But Liuzzi did make it past turn 1 – faster than anyone and sideways;-)

  15. Vettel: 284 + 25 = 309
    Alonso: 172 + 18 = 190
    Diff: 309-190 = 119

    JPN + KOR + IND + ABU + BRA = 100 points

    Wouldnt this make Vettel a WDC chamption as logn as he wins SIN, no matter how anyone else does?

    1. JPN + KOR + IND + ABU + BRA = 125 points

    2. No. Because JPN+KOR+IND+ABU+BRA = 125 points.

      1. lmao i need to go back to school. you are right. sorry guys.

    3. Vettel will be world Champion in Singapore if this occurs

      Vettel wins the race and Alonso does no finish on the podium. If this occurs no matter where Button and Webber finish Vettel will have the title. There would be 125 points separating 1st and 2nd place assuming either Button or Webber finish in 2nd at Singapore.

      But given Vettels amount of wins this season he would automatically clinch the title anyway. So all Vettel has to do is be first withotu Alonso finishing on the podium and the 2nd drivers title is done.

      1. nice answer

      2. 284 VET to win (309)
        158 HAM 2nd or lower (176)
        167 BUT / WEB 3rd or lower (182)
        172 ALO 4th or lower (184)

        VET would win title as he would be 125 ahead but would have 9 wins against Alonso’s 1. Simple as that.

  16. Apparently Liuzzi has been given a 5 position grid penalty at Singapore, so he will be starting 29th. I can almost hear the laughter from the committee room.

  17. Once again Vettel has shown that, given the fastest car, he has the focus and speed to deliver wins more consistently than anyone else.

    Other drivers have been more flamboyant or daring; some have been less lucky. But Vettel has made fewer mistakes than anyone else while still pushing closer to the limit than his team-mate.

    Good for him – and good luck winning the title next race!

    (I just hope that next year, the Red Bull has no speed advantage. Then we can really see what he’s made of.)

  18. I wonder what 5 placed down the grid penalty would mean for Liuzzi. Starting from the toilet in HRT motorhome?

    1. I saw their motorhome. It didn’t look that well equipped!

      1. Not even a toilet? That’s sad.

  19. “Vitantonio Liuzzi had lost got onto the grass on the way to the first chicane, lost control of his HRT, and hurtled backwards into the cars negotiating the Rettifilio.”
    Something wrong here. And I saw it as if he went sideways into the cars he hit.

    1. Liuzzi put two wheels on the grass (he blamed Kovalainen for pushing him over) just as everyone else funnelled into the braking zone. The other drivers started to slow down while he didn’t. He lost the car trying to avoid hitting the cars decelerating in front of him.

  20. Liuzzi given 5-place grid drop for SNG:
    Not like it will make any difference, he will probably qualify 21st if he’s lucky, then be dropped to the back.

  21. I had the pleasure of being at the race today and it was worth every bit of the pilgrimage I made. The entire weekend has been phenomenal, from the pit-lane walk Thursday afternoon to the checkered flag today. I’m exhausted but above that I’m proud. Proud that a sport I choose to follow has countless microcosm’s of fans from all backgrounds supporting the most obscure drivers. I saw one family proudly bearing their Russian flag and my heart sank for them when Petrov went out. I’m sure they still enjoyed the race but that’s one hell of a distance to travel!

    The race itself was fantastic as far as I’m concerned. I rated it a 9 on the poll, irrespective of my viewpoint but the atmosphere alone (and the free beer I got!) made for an easy 11/10.

    Congratulations to Vettel and to the rest of the guys at Red Bull for managing to defy their critics two races in a row, races they weren’t meant to win.

    1. I’m glad you had a great time! A nice write up as well!

    2. Great to hear you had a fantastic time Andrew!

  22. Just found out that Tonio Liuzzi got a five place grid drop for Singapore because of his crash at the start. I’m very confused. In Belgium, Senna made an unforced error and took out Alguersuari and caused mayhem. No penalty. In Italy, Liuzzi was forced onto the grass and careered into the others. Five places.

    Where is the consistency? Admittedly to Liuzzi, the grid drop means he will still be at the back, but it’s the sentiment. Why didn’t Senna get one too?

    For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have penalised either of them, it’s a racing incident. Many of you will probably disagree, but I miss the days when an accident at the start was commonplace! Penalties are handed out too much and too often, but at least be consistent with them!

    Rant over!

    1. I believe Senna got a drive through penalty in Spa. Since Liuzzi was out of the race, the only penalty he could have gotten was the 5 place grid drop. Considering DR may out qualify him in Singapore, and he’d be starting last as a result anyway, Senna’s penalty was far worse (not to mention he lost more time coming in to change his nose in Spa as well).

      1. You are absolutely correct – i’d forgotten about the drive through. Silly of me. The point still remains that the stewards are too inconsistent and penalise too often, but, as you pointed out, my example was wide of the mark!

        1. I’m not sure about the stewards being too inconsistent (lots of times certain incidents look like apples to apples but on closer inspection they are more apples to oranges), but totally agree with too many penalties being given.

          (and while they may not be “too” inconsistent, they are definitely inconsistent at times!)

  23. vettel wins the championship + RB the construction title – how about putting another driver in vettels car?
    Wont happen but could be interesting^^

    1. How about swapping Webber and Schumi for the rest of the year? THAT would be interesting.

  24. I guess all he needs to do is to finish on the podium if he need to win the WC for 2011.It was a exciting race as once again the cool customer Button did a great job where Schumi showed us that he still have what it takes for him to race in 2012.Bad luck for Nico as his strategy & race pace could have allowed him to finish in a good position today.Seems like Liuzzi was over cooking the corner,great pass from Vettel to get Alonso.

  25. And to think he dominated from here on in last year. If he puts in similar performances this year, he may well win all of the last races (minus india of course which we have no history to go on). Whilst it’s disappointing that the championship fight hasn’t been closer, I’m glad I’m witnessing one of the greatest sporting performances in history; something I didn’t fully appreciate during Schumacher’s domination.

    1. Great comment, I didn’t see all the years of Schumacher’s domination, so this is something special to see.

      It’s a pleasure to watch Vettel drive. Simply amazing.

      1. I did see some of it, but this year the racing behind the winner is usually much better, esp. compared to 2004 where the two Ferrari’s were so much faster.

  26. All the criticisms on Vettel this year will be buried.

    VETTEL is truly worthy as a world champion.

    Keith, now I’m waiting for the latest statistics of how many records Vettel has broken and there will be more to come in the future. IMO he’s a very nice bloke and he has earned high respects from myself and I’m sure from many others.

  27. I think anybody who still believes that Sebastien Vettel’s success this year is solely down to the Red Bull chassis needs to be sent to Specsavers. The move he put on Fernando was everybit as impressive as Alonso’s move on Schumacher at Suzuka in 2005. Pure balls and nothing less, and as Keith quite rightly pointed out, without the use of the much fabled DRS.
    Personally, I think this guy is fed up with certain people suggesting that it ‘is all down to the car’. He really proved today his raw talent and courage behind the wheel of a racing car. It was refreshingly different to see a driver with the luxary of such a lead in the championship, go out full guns blazing for the win. I must admit, when Fernando made that great move at the start of the race, I thought it would be all over with by the crying.
    As for the others, yet another frustrating day for Lewis Hamilton but a solid one for his team mate. It makes me laugh to think that in late 2009 so many were claiming that Button was making a huge mistake by joining McLaren. That Lewis would blow him away with embarrassingly levels of ease! Well, it is not looking like Jenson is being hung out to try lately that is for sure.
    Hamilton spent so long behind Michael Schumacher at Monza it seemed at times they were tighed together with a piece of string. Button breezed by and even put one on Fernando, in the same car as Lewis! Oh dear oh dear..

    1. Spot on assessment!

      Vettel and Button despite being champions have been some what underrated by many people, many people that are finally seeing just how wrong they were.

    2. Jenson was clever, held back for many laps and let Lewis fight with Michael. Then he closed up as the pit stops approached and took the opportunity when it presented itself.

      His tyres would have been in much better condition than both Michael and Lewis, I think the only reason he pitted the lap after Michael was to cover the undercut.

  28. It was NOT a crushing win as you put it, if it were not for Schumacher both McLarens would have been all over him, as someone who looks at the FIA stats should well know.

    1. Alonso got in front of him at the start, but it was clear from the way Vettel passed him it was a minor setback. He sprinted away from the pack and never looked threatened. All this at a track where Red Bull have never scored a podium in the past.

      it was absolutely a crushing win for Vettel. He never looked like being beaten.

      You can say ‘if it weren’t for this and that’ as much as like. This article is about the race that actually happened.

  29. Maybe a small error:
    “Massa was able to continue but as Webber returned to the pits with damage the front wing folded under his front wing, sending him into the barriers at Parabolica.”

    The Schumi-Hamilton battle was fun to watch, but it’s a shame Hamilton lacked top speed. Button’s higher top speed enabled him to overtake Schumi at once, which was funny too.

    1. “The Schumi-Hamilton battle was fun to watch, but it’s a shame Hamilton lacked top speed”
      That of cause depends on how you look at it, but had Hamilton had a higher top speed the duel would have been over much earlier.

      1. True, but then he might have a chance to challenge Vettel, which would have made the final stages of the race more exiting.

        1. We’ll never know but I wonder could Seb have gone faster if he needed to.

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