Vettel has a hand on title after Italy win
Updated: 2011-09-13 12:28
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (R) and Red Bull Formula One Team Principal Christian Horner celebrate after winning the Italian F1 Grand Prix at Monza circuit, Sept 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
MONZA, Italy - Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had his second successive Formula One world championship almost sealed and delivered after winning the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 24-year-old German, who had started on pole position for the 10th time in 13 races, stretched his overall lead to a mighty 112 points after Australian team mate and closest rival Mark Webber crashed out.
With only 150 points remaining to be won from the last six grands prix, Vettel has now won eight races this season and can clinch the title at the next one in Singapore on Sept 25 if results go his way.
McLaren's Jenson Button finished runner-up for the third season in a row at Monza with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, last year's winner from pole, giving the sea of red-shirted fans something to cheer about with third place at his team's home race.
Vettel, who took his first Formula One win at Monza with Red Bull's Italian-based sister team Toro Rosso on 2008, let all the emotions flood out on his return to the podium. He now has 284 points to double world champion Alonso's 172 and Button's 167.
"When you stand up there you feel so blessed. It doesn't happen to many people," said Vettel who swerved across to the pit wall with one finger raised as he crossed the line.
"This circuit means a lot to me...obviously the first one was very special but to be back here...incredible," he gasped. "I really had a very, very good race car and a fantastic day today.
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany reacts on the podium after winning the Italian F1 Grand Prix at Monza circuit, Sept 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
"It's the best podium in the world. The only thing that could make it better is probably wearing a red suit."
On a sweltering afternoon in the royal park near Milan, Alonso had the home fans leaping in excitement at the start by seizing the lead, roaring past Vettel with one wheel on the grass, from fourth place on the grid.
The Spaniard held his advantage for the first four laps thanks to the safety car, which had to be deployed immediately after Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi lost control of his HRT, skidding across a corner and slamming into Vitaly Petrov's Renault.
Germany's Nico Rosberg was also caught in the mayhem, retiring his Mercedes on the spot.
Ferrari supporters celebrate the third place of Fernando Alonso of Spain after the Italian F1 Grand Prix at Monza circuit, Sept 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]