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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Sunday, 11 September 2011 14:30 UK

Sebastian Vettel cruises to dominant Italian GP victory

Sebastian Vettel celebrates in Monza

Highlights - Italian Grand Prix

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Monza

Sebastian Vettel fought back to win Red Bull's first Italian Grand Prix and move closer to a second world title.

Fernando Alonso took the lead with a brilliant start but Vettel re-passed him to take his eighth win of the year.

Jenson Button's fast-finishing McLaren passed Alonso later and team-mate Lewis Hamilton was fourth after losing time in a fight with Michael Schumacher.

Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber crashed out, and was one of eight cars to retire from an exhilarating race.

Vettel now leads the championship from Alonso by 112 points which means his first chance to seal a consecutive world title will come in Singapore in a fortnight's time.

"It's no big surprise that this man is the winner again," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard.

"Are we witnessing one of the true legends of the sport? He's proven today he's fighting for victories even when he does not have to take a risk."

Vettel's victory completed a happy return to Monza, where the German first started making history when he became the youngest ever grand prix winner when he won his maiden race at the historic circuit for Toro Rosso three years ago.

Michael Schumacher forces Lewis Hamilton on to the grass

Schumacher forces Hamilton off track

Vettel had lost the lead off the line as Alonso bravely squeezed his Ferrari down the inside from fourth on the grid.

But the world champion displayed his own dash of daring to re-pass Alonso with a high-speed move around the outside of Curva Grande and into the second chicane on lap five.

From there, Vettel steadily built his lead and when he pitted for soft tyres 15 laps later he comfortably returned way out in front and was never challenged on his way to the flag.


Vettel said: "This was a circuit that has been tough for us to be competitive in the last couple of years and we have come back this year.

"The start wasn't good, I don't know where Fernando came from and it took me a while to realise we were three across the track."

His team-mate Webber lost second place in the standings and conceded his championship was over as he retired following a crash with Felipe Massa.

Alonso moved up to second on 172 points, with Button and Webber level in third on 167.

Hamilton is nine points further back in fifth.

Button played a waiting game in the opening stages of the race but seized the advantage when Hamilton ran wide as he chased down Michael Schumacher's Mercedes.

Are we witnessing one of the true legends of the sport? He's proven he's fighting for victories even when he does not have to take a risk

BBC's Formula 1 co-commentator David Coulthard

As his English team-mate edged his wheels on the grass, Button moved beyond Schumacher for fourth and stayed ahead of him at the first pit stop.

When Alonso and Button switched to the harder medium tyres at the second stop, Button found himself up to speed much more quickly than the Ferrari.

Button swept past Alonso for second on lap 36 and was untroubled as he held on to second - just where he finished in Monza last season.

Alonso said: "We've been doing some good starts in recent weeks and we knew there was enough space to overtake so we maximised our potential in our start but we were not competitive enough to fight for victory."

A crash on the opening lap, which was caused when Tonio Liuzzi's HRT slammed into the train of cars, was to have an impact on Hamilton's race.

The McLaren driver was caught napping as the race restarted once the safety car, which had been called out for the opening-lap crash, retreated and he was jumped by Schumacher.

Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso

Italian GP - Top three drivers

The pair spent almost half the race locked in an entertaining battle for position as Hamilton even found himself behind the Mercedes after his first stop.

Hamilton finally found his way past Schumacher as the German yielded position on the approach to Ascari only to find himself once again staring at the back of the Mercedes after his second pit stop.

Hamilton finally passed the seven-time world champion with 15 laps to go and crossed the line in fourth.

Schumacher collected fifth ahead of Massa, Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari - who had started from 19th on the grid.

Scot Paul di Resta got back in the points with eighth for Force India and Bruno Senna collected his first F1 points with ninth in the Renault. Sebastien Buemi was 10th for Toro Rosso.

Webber was one of eight retirements which also included Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Renault's Vitaly Petrov, who were tangled up in the first corner crash.

Liuzzi was penalised for his part in the accident and received a reprimand and a five-place grid penalty, which will take effect in Singapore, for causing the collision.

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see also
Italian Grand Prix race results
08 Mar 11 |  Results
Italian Grand Prix as it happened
11 Sep 11 |  Formula 1
Hamilton coy on Schumacher drive
12 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Alonso gives up on title chances
11 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Button hails his 'bravest' pass
11 Sep 11 |  Formula 1

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