Vettel wins Italian Grand Prix, a victory in Singapore and he’s world champion
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2011   |  3:15 pm GMT  |  232 comments

Sebastian Vettel is now potentially just one race away from being crowned world champion for the second year in a row and at the age of 24. A win at Singapore would guarantee him the title.

He won his eighth race of the season on a track where Red Bull had not been considered one of the favourites, thanks to a bold pass on Fernando Alonso in the early stages of the race.

It was Vettel’s 18th career win, his second at this circuit and Red Bull’s first at Monza. Behind him there were intense battles featuring Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Schumacher making it an entertaining Italian Grand Prix. Button finished second, with Alonso holding off Hamilton in the closing stages to take a seventh podium of the season.

Vettel now leads the championship by 112 points, with 150 remaining. If he scores a win in Singapore with Alonso off the podium and Button lower than 3rd he will be the 2011 world champion and the youngest ever two times champion at the age of 24.

“It’s very emotional,” said Vettel, who had tears on the podium. “It’s the best podium in the world. The only thing that could make it better would be wearing a red suit, but it was great. The car was fantastic. We are very disciplined as a team, make very few mistakes. We act as a team and we all remain calm. As for the championship, we’re in a great position. It’s over when it’s over and not before.”

The warm weather Ferrari had been hoping for certainly came through, it was a muggy 29 degrees when the cars formed up on the grid.

At the start Alonso got the dream start he had hoped for, squeezing past Hamilton and Vettel and into the lead from fourth on the grid. Behind them all hell broke loose when Liuzzi came sailing in sideways as the midfield went through the chicane. It took out Rosberg and Petrov. Liuzzi blamed Kovalainen for causing him to lose control.

The Safety Car was deployed and at the restart, Hamilton was not ready and found himself a second behind Vettel as they crossed the line. Schumacher passed him for third.

Alonso and Vettel battled for five laps, before Vettel pulled off a sublime pass on the Ferrari driver into the second chicane, his left wheels on the grass at one stage. He described Alonso as “an animal”, albeit jokingly. “He didn’t leave much room,” he said.

Webber tangled with Massa, losing his wing and as he hurried back to the pits, he lost grip in the Parabolica and crashed out. Amazingly it was the first retirement of the season for a Red Bull driver.

At the front Vettel pulled out a gap quickly over Alonso, with Schumacher fending off hamilton, who had the DRS at his disposal. But the Mercedes had better straight line speed.

Hamilton passed on lap 13, but Schumacher repassed him. Button joined in, the DRS bringing the three cars very close together.

They fought hard, as Schumacher complained his rear tyres were fading. Hamilton couldn’t pass, going onto the grass to avoid a collision at one point and Button passed first his team mate, then Schumacher, who pitted at the end of lap 16. Button came in a lap later with Hamilton in on lap 19. But Schumacher had stayed ahead of Hamilton by pitting first.

The paid fought very hard for lap after lap. Hamilton tried many times to pass, but he didn’t have the wing/gearing/DRS combination to get ahead of the Mercedes. Every time he tried he was a few mph short, even with the DRS open.

At the front, Vettel was 12 seconds clear by lap 24, totally in control of the race, while Button was in third pulling away from Schumacher and Hamilton. He closed in on Alonso, but couldn’t pass him.

Perez, Alguersuari and Maldonado had benefitted from the chaos at the start to get into the top ten in the opening stint. Perez and Alguersuari stayed there after the first stops, Maldonado couldn’t and slipped to 11th behind Buemi. Perez later retired.

Making no headway against Alonso, Button decided to pit on lap 35 to try the undercut, but Barrichello blocked his way in. Ferrari reacted, bringing Alonso in and he stayed ahead. But Ferrari’s problems with warm up on the harder tyre struck again, Button able to pass Alonso on his first lap out of the pits. He opened a gap of two seconds.

Senna’s tactic of starting on the medium tyre and pitting under the safety car started to pay off, as he fought with Buemi for 9th place. Senna was on soft tyres, Buemi on medium. He passed him on lap 48.

Schumacher finished fifth, Massa sixth, Alguersuari again made a name for himself with seventh, while Di Resta got a strong eighth place ahead of Bruno Senna who scored his first world championship points.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, Monza, 53 laps
1. Vettel Red Bull 1h20:46.172
2. Button McLaren + 9.590
3. Alonso Ferrari + 16.909
4. Hamilton McLaren + 17.471
5. Schumacher Mercedes + 32.677
6. Massa Ferrari + 42.993
7. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap
8. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
9. Senna Renault + 1 lap
10. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
11. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams + 1 lap
13. Kovalainen Lotus + 1 lap
14. Trulli Lotus + 2 laps
15. Glock Virgin + 2 laps

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I have to feel that the real loser this year has been Webber. In a year where the RB has been if not dominant, but right up there, he has been lacking. Perhaps RB should have thought whether the really needed him. Notwithstanding he has a contract for next year, I think he will need to pull something out for the remainder of the season.


Where DRS and KERS have taken the real overtaking away from the sport, it was refreshing to see some great defence from 7 time world champion. MS surely have made the race look like a race rather than a procession. People, mainly BBC audience, questioning his tactics need to watch LH (the crash kid) literally and physically banging Massa out of the track to finish ahead in one of the previous races just before the finish line and all the British media including Nigel Mansell who was steward at the race calling it a fantastic move and racing incident. Just imagine if it was MS banging LH out of the track. I bet Nigel would have banned MS for couple of races. Hypocrisy has no limits. Its a shame that wonderful sports we know as f1 is losing its challenges, grit and determination and has got soft babies in toy cars with all the tools and buttons but still seeking FIA to help them overtake real, pure and out right racer in MS.


This has been a long thread, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone pointing out that the top five places in the Monza results went to five World Champions… We are seeing history made every weekend right now!


After RBR get Seb over the WDC line, I wonder if they’ll concentrate on smacking the other constructors in the Constructors Championship. ie, concentrate on getting Webber into 2nd place in the WDC for a RBR 1-2. I know there is only so much you can do. Actually, the more I type, the more holes I see in my theory. Never mind :/

Congrats Seb and RBR.


Is it just me or are other people getting the impression that Lewis is not happy at mclaren or maybe mclaren are not happy with him ? He looked so down on Sunday even mclaren telling the BBC he needed motivating on the radio this is not the usual Hamilton who is always driving flat out giving it everything. I am no massive Hamilton fan but I get the feeling not all is well at mclaren maybe he is feeling a little left out now that button is stealing the limelight from him and also button getting a reported lifetime contract from mclaren may give Lewis the impression he is not wanted


Of course he’s down. Lewis thinks anything lower that 1st place is a failure. Vettel has raised the bar so high this year that some of the others are making mistakes in an effort to salvage some personal pride. This has resulted in some unfortunate incidents, penalties and bad press. Lewis stated (i seem to remember) that his goal for Monza was to finish. Quite a low goal for someone like Lewis but a sensible one at this time. I hope his next goal is a few strong podiums and untimately a win. These times are test of character for Lewis. The character I saw a couple of years ago would come through this. I quoted Kiplings “IF” somewhere on these forums. There’s some good old fashioned advise in there, well worth thinking about.


All Lewis wants is to win. He thought McLaren is a Inferior car. He approached Red Bull and also tried to get into Ferrari but they didn’t want him. Now he has not many choices. He has to put up at McLaren, join a slower team or quit F1.

For me, McLaren is the best car but the drivers didn’t do a good job. Now Lewis is upset that Jenson has taken the lead over him. But he will bounce back.


He was very down after qualifying on Saturday too, when he came into the TV interview room


Lewis can take a lesson or two from Jenson’s driving style. The way Jenson overtook Lewis, Schumacher and Alonso is commendable. It is down to his smooth driving style.

There were lot of noise on Schumacher pushing Lewis into the grass but no one was saying much about Alonso pushing Vettel off the track.


Force India is now 6th in the Constructors and has 36 points and Sauber has 35 points – Paul is doing well as this is big money at the end of the year.


True. I am so happy for Paul. He impressed me the most from all the rookies. And now Bruno Senna did it also.

Bruno has speed and race by race his confidence in the car will grow. I don’t think Bruno is pushing 100%. Is hard to do that in a car that you just step in and knowing that your future depends on these few coming races.

Bruno is one to watch in the future and I am glad Eric B has gave him the chance to show his skills.

Going back to Paul DiResta, I hope he is not going to make any silly mistakes and keeps it clean on the track. Every race he has good chances to finish in points.

What is going on with Sauber? In the last few races they are slowwww. Have they stoped working on the 2011 car or what?



If you watch the first corner crash you’ll see Paul having the foresight to see the crash coming and immediately take to the escape road and pull another 5 cars with him otherwise the smash would have been bigger – He’s got foresight and seemingly is just having a Sunday afternoon drive these days – pretty good for a rookie.


Great drive from Vettel, and one of the only overtaking moves that he’s made that really impressed. But yet, for some reason, he just leaves me cold. He doesn’t inspire in the same way as Alonso and Hamilton.

And im getting so frustrated with the Button love in. He can do no wrong in the eyes of the British media. If he crashes or loses places – not a peep. If he makes one overtaking move then suddenly he’s the dog’s unmentionables.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that when Button got past Schumi, the German’s tyres had started to go off.

And as for Hamilton, yes a bit of a lack lustre race. But at the end of the day, he can’t do anything right. Too aggressive, too timid, too outspoken, too monosyllabic. Make up your mind!

And as for the “he’s too preoccupied with his celeb mates and endorsements” argument. What? Sorry, which drivers don’t have celebrity friends and endorsements? It is merely because they are ‘rappers’ not rock stars or other sports stars. It seems that some people’s perception of that type of music and the culture that goes with it, merely serves to illustrate their own ignorance and bigotedness.


I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s sick of the Button lovefest. The guy is so over-rated. Yes, he makes good overtakes a fair amount of the time, but he has to, because he’s so poor at the start of the race. Started 3rd yesterday, then was 7th after no time. He then struggled to catch up to Hamilton and Schumacher until just before the first stops. He was lucky getting past Hamilton, and Schumi was out of position from defending against Hamilton and struggling with his rear-tyres when Button finally got past.

Yes, he was quick at the end of the race, but that’s just not good enough. Vettel had already scampered off into the distance. If he really wants to be a serious contender, he needs to be quick from start to finish.


To fair, he made your last point more or less word for word himself after the race


Also forgot to mention that he got to fifth lace by virtue of Massa and Webber’s coming together.


Hi James

Was that you doing the post race interviews? I also wondered who chooses the person to do the interviews as it seems to be different each race?

Also is it it a free job?



Yes it was me. I’ve been doing it since 2009


I must admit I miss the Lewis – the passionate / drive from the heart / make some mistakes / talk to cameras and say what he thinks. Now we get pre-ordained Managerial driving and speak – and while he definitely needs some advice ……. It’s like now he’s being told to drive for points and change his way of speaking otherwise he will never get to race for anybody else ( and so his worth will plumet ) but to me he looks like he wants a Ferrari drive.


Rock and a hard place



Lewis showed class and maturity. I hope it continues, as it will bring him more points than 50:50 banzai overtaking moves. If he can meld his speed with Jenson’s on-track intelligence, he will be even stronger next season.


James, off topic – How come the trophies of Alonso and Button are different from Vettel’s? Is that a tradition for Monza?


The commentators on Speed said that it’s a special trophy representing the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. And that everyone who wins a major sporting event in the country gets one. Since Seb won he gets the special trophy, and the other get the standard sponsor logo trophy. Next year 1st place will be like the others only bigger.


james, you missed closing html strong tag for “… Monza, 53 laps”


I don’t know how a F1 car can overtake by the grass and not losing speed or traction. This give us an idea of how this car reacts to a possible error by the driver, it just continues going well. I though that going by the grass could cost the driver losing his position, this is instead the opposite.


Was it just me, or did MSC let Button by but gave Hamilton a hard time? And where is the blocking rules?


ok we get it. This is your 5th post on the subject.

Do you want racing or some lame contest decided only by qualifying and penalties from the stewards if anyone ever defends.



1)Merc had very good traction and better braking up until MSC’s rear tyres started ‘falling off’.

2) Schumacher regularly used more than 60-80% of Kers on the DRS-enabled straight /wherever Hamilton was closing with the passing aids. Jenson probly didnt use kers while slipstreaming right behind 2 cars ahead on the main straight. Jenson used DRS and KERS on the straight leading to Ascari

3)Jenson saved his tyres until that point too.

BTW, according to Ross Brawn, Hamilton found his way past (relatively early) because michael made a mistake (pit limiter/slow gear change)


Anyone catch exactly what Alonso said before the podium celebration when Vettel said he pushed him onto the grass? Sounded like he dropped the f-bomb. 😀


It was probably along the lines of: “look how much everyone worships me for finishing in 3rd place, and the Tifosi don’t really care that you won”. The cheer Alonso received when he collected his trophy said it all.


Whatever happened to the Ferrari’s straight line speed advantage of about 20 kph over Red bulls?


Shame that we will never know how Rosberg’s strategy could work. Without that accident no retirement no safety car no early pit stop…


I actually really enjoyed that race – even though Vettel was out front. Good battle between Hamilton and Schumacher, but I’d like to find out why, after the last stops Schumacher came out so close to Hamilton. I would have expected Ham to be much further ahead. Tyre compound?

Excellent drives from Alonso and Button today too.

I must add again, that I don’t ‘get’ Vettel. He was amazing today, but I don’t feel the amazement in the same way that I felt it during the Schumacher days, or from Alonso or Hamilton. And yet, he’s taking away any reason to doubt him.


All in all it was a great race. Alonso showed his great skills with an inferior car while Adrian Newey showed us why Red Bull is the best car – overtaking on the grass with minimal corrections or speed loss. RBR’s downforce is fantastic. Schumi, once again delivered one of his great races, like Fernando with an inferior car, while Hamilton was cautious enough not to crash. Button is becoming the new Alain Prost – patient, fast, opportunistic and calculating.

It was a great race on a great circuit, in the best F1 atmosphere possible, Monza Italy: the land of Ferrari, Toro Rosso (Minardi), Magneti Marelli, Brembo, Dallara … what next?


James I just had a sudden thought. Last year Charlie Whiting made a big issue about drivers driving outside the white lines on the main straight, and anyone caught doing so would be penalized. However, Alonso overtook both Hamilton and Vettel at the start by performing this action, so has Whiting relaxed this issue?


I think racer can do anything as long as it’s not make accident, if racer crash into each other they will make investigation and give some penalty.


I believe that the rule is that as long as two wheels are within the white lines, it is legitimate.


I find Whiting a/o the stewards inconsistent. Wish they were willing/required to go before public questioning like drivers and managers.

Am not a LH fan but I certainly thought if that was LH today instead of MS that LH would have gotten a steward inquiry or penalty.


Vettel has been a class act all year but I agree with Martin Brundle that he has to drop the ‘finger thing’ and stop all the silly yee-haaing on the team radio if he wants to join the greats. And that is what I’m talking about!


He has made all those his trade marks.


Not very good trademarks if I may add.


All in all, a great post :p


All the other arguments against him didn’t stick, so now it’s the all important finger thing that will decide if he will become an F1 great! 😉


So that was the 2011 World Championship decided, I think that 2nd place will be fought out between Alonso and Button, with Fernando coming out on top; but only just!


I don’t think Webber’s out of it yet, will we see Red Bull putting everything behind him in the final races once Vettel has sealed the title? And Hamilton is always capable of pulling something out of the bag.


Hey, maybe they’ll even give Webber the same quality machinery as Vettel once the Championship is won?

If we suddenly lose the muffed starts from Webber after Singapore, be very suspicious 🙂


I don’t think that Vettel will clinch the title in Singapore. I think it’ll be a few races yet.

As for my driver of the day i voted for Alonso because he always seems to get better results out of a car, that isn’t too competitive than anybosy else.

His start was brilliant just like in Spain, he held on as best he could and got a good result for ferrari and the tifosi.

The race itself between Schumacher and hamilton was awesome, Michael certainly hasn’t lost his talent.

I think Fernando and Ferrari will be better in Singaapore as this is a track where Alonso does very well and suits his aggressive driving style.

Christopher Snowdon

Title already clinched if no one matches his points haul as of today!!


James, isn´t a litle bit of an overstatment by Martin Whitmarsh saying that mclaren had the fastest car today???


5 Place grid penalty for Liuzzi! What is the point in that! He would start at best second to last anyway. Surely the stewards realise that is completely pointless!


They’re going to make him start from the front row, but a lap down.


… and where is the point in giving a grid penalty for a car which is constantly starting from last row? 😛

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