Italian GP: Vettel wins spectacular race at Monza

Comfortable victory for Sebastian Vettel at Monza. Jenson Button is runner-up, while Fernando Alonso brings some cheer to the tifosi with a podium. Lewis Hamilton's poor choice of gear ratio leaves him back in fourth. Michael Schumacher finishes fifth after ding-dong battle with Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel wins the Italian Grand Prix at Monza ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Despite the solo drive by Vettel, the crowd were still kept well entertained.
In a thrilling Italian Grand Prix, the only man at Monza enjoying a routine afternoon was Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull driver briefly lost the lead at the start and had to pursue Fernando Alonso for five laps before repassing him on lap five and then driving on to a comfortable victory. Elsewhere in the pack, there were plenty of thrills and spills before the reigning champion was joined on the podium by Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

The action began right from the off as Vettel was overtaken, Michael Schumacher once again made up lots of ground and an incident triggered by Tonio Liuzzi brought out the safety car. The Italian driver lost control of his car entering turn one and spun across the grass into the chicane. The resultant collision with Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg finished their race prematurely, and Rubens Barrichello had to return to the pits for repairs.

The excitement continued after the restart with Vettel repassing Alonso and Schumacher nailing Lewis Hamilton. The three-way battle between the former world champions – Alonso, Schumacher and Hamilton – played nicely into the hands of the leader who showed them all a clean pair of heels. His pleasure will have been compounded by an overtaking manoeuvre on lap five in which Mark Webber brushed against Felipe Massa, spinning the Brazilian around and wrecking his own nosecone. As Webber returned to the pits, he flew off track in the Parabolica and finished his race there. With his team-mate and closest rival for the 2011 title going home empty-handed, Vettel's lead has now increased to an almost unassailable 112 points.

Meanwhile, in the battle of the ex-champs, Alonso was opening up a gap on the other two and Hamilton was pressuring Schumacher. Then up pops Button, first of all passing his team-mate who had taken an excursion across the grass in his duel with Schumacher, then overtaking the Mercedes man with a bold manoeuvre and finally chasing down Alonso. Schumacher then had to cope with the ongoing challenge from Hamilton who was less than pleased with the way the German kept moving around the track. The McLaren man complained and Schumacher was instructed to leave more room when changing racing line. This eventually gave Hamilton enough space to squeeze past, though his top speed was barely adequate to pull away convincingly.

In the Alonso-Button confrontation, the hard tyres proved to be the undoing for Ferrari – and not for the first time this year. Because following the final pit stop when both drivers switched to the medium compound, Button soon passed Alonso and built up a substantial gap which secured him second place. Hamilton was also closing in on Alonso toward the end but ultimately had to settle for fourth ahead of Schumacher, Massa, Jaime Alguersuari, Paul di Resta, points debutant Bruno Senna and Sebastien Buemi.
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