Vettel wins Italian Grand Prix in dominating fashion

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Italy, Autodromo Nazionale di Monzait

Sebastian Vettel has won the Italian Grand Prix after starting from pole and never giving away that first position. Fernando Alonso finished second, fending off Mark Webber until the finish line. Felipe Massa ended 4th with Nico Hulkenberg a surprising 5th.

Following a few showers over the pitlane ahead of the race, the track has nearly dried up by the start of the race. Only parabolica appeared to be still slightly wet, but with the sun out again that is soon going to change. With no rain expected any time soon, everybody is started on the dry weather tyres.

The top 10 is on the medium. Raikkonen in 11th starts on the harder compound, just like 12th placed Hamilton and Gutierrez in 16th.

Ferrari meanwhile changed the engine on Massa's car, even though the Brazilian ran a new engine on Saturday already. All other cars interstingly are also using a new engine, as us usually the case for the high speed Monza track.

As the lights went out, Vettel made the best start but locked up his front wheels quite badly into turn 1. Massa passed Webber through turn 1 while Alonso failed to follow through and slotted into 4th, just behind Webber. Hulkenberg dropped down to 5th.

Raikkonen further back got front wing damage and entered the pits after lap 1 for a change. He rear ended Perez under braking at turn 1, forcing Perez to go straight through and rejoin in 8th. By that time Di Resta was already eliminated as he stepped out of the car in the gravel at turn 2. He locked up his front left and subsequently broke his front left suspension on another car's rear right wheel.

On lap 3, Alonso passes Webber through the outside of Roggia. Webber did squeeze Alonso quite hard but eventually lost a tiny part of his front wing as Alonso pulled away on the exit of the turn.

By lap 8, Vettel has pulled a gap of 3.6 seconds on Massa. The Brazilian though has Alonso close up behind him and the latter passed his teammate without resistance at turn 1 of lap 9. 4th is still Webber, ahead of Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Perez, Vergne, Button, Hamilton, Grosjean, Sutil, Gutierrez, Maldonado, Bottas, Pic, Van der Garde, Raikkonen, Bianchi and Chilton.

On lap 14 Hamilton pits after missing the entry twice. The issue for Hamilton is that he cannot respond to the radio messages he's getting due to a problem with the radio. He did have a slow front puncture and rejoined the track in 16th place, 5 seconds behind Raikkonen.

On lap 16 the Ferrari engine on Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso gives up while accellerating out of Roggia. He pulls off the track quickly but it did clearly surprise Button who was just behind.

On lap 21 Grosjean pits and changes to a brand new set of the hard tyres. Vettel that the time is still leading, 5.3 seconds ahead of Alonso. Massa is another 4.2s behind. Webber is 7 tenths behind the Ferrari while Hulkenberg follows him at 1.7 seconds. Rosberg is also within 1 second of Hulkenberg.

On lap 24 Vettel pits, and immediately Webber pits as well on the very same lap. Massa and Hulkenberg pitted one lap later, soon finding out that Massa dropped behind Webber due to a slightly slower pitstop for the Ferrari driver.

Alonso goes on until lap 28 before changing to the harder tyre. He did lose time on Vettel and after his stop is 10 seconds behind Vettel and only just ahead of Mark Webber. Raikkonen is 5th on the medium tyres and has Hulkenberg right behind. Hamilton is 7th after having passed his team mate in turn 1 of lap 29.

On lap 31 Raikkonen makes his second stop to change to the harder tyre. One lap later Hamilton passes Hulkenberg and moves up into 5th.

On lap 39 Hamilton pits for the seocnd time after having missed two radio messages. After his stop, he rejoins a few seconds behind Raikkonen just as the Finn set a fastest lap.

Further ahead, Alonso is still struggling to get rid of Webber who is consistently able to deploy DRS. On lap 40 though the Australian is asked to short shift out of the exit of turn 2 due to "an issue". He is later informed the problem has to do with shifts between second and third gears. Surprisingly it's not costing him a lot compared to Alonso while Massa is faster than both of them.

Meanwhile the action in the middle of the pack action is heating up as Raikkonen and Hamilton are progressing jointly through the field and closing in the final points positions, currently occupied by Grosjean and the two McLarens. Raikkonen and Hamilton are putting in solid racing action as the two are also fighting each other. The Finn does seem slower than Hamilton though and furthermore also has to manage fuel consumption as he got repeated messages to save fuel.

On lap 49 Raikkonen is eventually passed by Hamilton after fending him off repeatedly. The Finn is unable to use all KERS and was a sitting duck. One lap later HAmilton already makes his way past Perez and is on the way to get Button as well. One lap later it's done already.

On lap 51 Raikkonen moves past Perez through Parabolica.

Hamilton had a go at Grosjean in the final lap but could not make his move stick and finished 8th. Vettel meanwhile easily won, having enjoyed 5 easy laps at the end of the race.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault53Winner125
23Fernando AlonsoFerrari53+5.4 secs518
32Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault53+6.3 secs215
44Felipe MassaFerrari53+9.3 secs412
511Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari53+10.3 secs310
69Nico RosbergMercedes AMG53+10.9 secs68
719Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari53+32.3 secs76
88Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault53+33.1 secs134
910Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG53+33.5 secs122
105Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes53+38.3 secs91
117Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault53+38.6 secs11
126Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes53+39.7 secs8
1312Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari53+40.8 secs16
1416Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault53+49.0 secs14
1517Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault53+56.8 secs18
1615Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes52+1 Lap17
1720Charles PicCaterham-Renault52+1 Lap20
1821Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault52+1 Lap19
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth52+1 Lap21
2023Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth52+1 Lap22
Ret18Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari14+39 Laps10
Ret14Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes0Accident15