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Emotional Vettel savors Monza win

China Daily | Updated: 2011-09-13 07:51

MONZA, Italy - Sebastian Vettel (pictured) shed tears on Sunday after moving to within sight of retaining his Formula One drivers' world championship with a comprehensive victory for Red Bull in the Italian Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old German now leads the title chase by 112 points ahead of Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in the 2011 title race.

Vettel fought back his emotions as he stood atop the podium, elevated above the start-finish straight on which thousands of Italian fans packed together after the traditional post-race invasion.

Tears ran slowly down his cheeks during the anthems as, he said later, he reflected on his feelings three years on from his maiden victory at the same Monza circuit and in the same event in 2008, when he took pole and won the race in torrential rain, for the Toro Rosso team.

"I was emotional and I was thinking of all those things, everything that happened," said Vettel.

Emotional Vettel savors Monza win

"Here, the podium is unbelievable. You feel so blessed. The view is incredible with all the people below. There is nowhere like it anywhere else and the emotions are so strong.

"The car was amazing in qualifying, and it was even better today. It's very special for me to win here again. It was such a race, too. I didn't get the best start and I was on the grass, but it all worked out thanks to the team."

Jenson Button finished second in the leading McLaren, the Englishman taking full advantage of a battle between his teammate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, 42, of Mercedes, to finish on the podium after a typically well-judged drive.

Alonso took third to the delight of the tifosi who invaded the circuit at the finish to cheer their famous team's colors on the elevated podium.

He said: "Well done to the whole team. There was a lot of stress racing here in Italy, a lot of pressure for all of us, but we did the best job possible. It's a great achievement to get on the podium here and a fantastic feeling."

Hamilton, frustrated initially by Schumacher and ultimately by Alonso in the closing laps, came home fourth, just a few meters behind Alonso with Schumacher, a five-time winner at Monza, finishing fifth for Mercedes thanks to another performance that stirred memories of his halcyon days as a supreme champion.

Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn, who twice reminded Schumacher not to make two defensive blocking moves during the race when he aggravated Hamilton with his tactics, defended his driver afterwards.

He said: "I think Michael drove a fantastic race. We know we haven't got the fastest car, but we have seen everything we know about Michael Schumacher. The FIA was watching it (the incident with Hamilton) and asking us to be careful.

"It is a balance between racing and not overstepping the mark. They asked us to be careful, which we were. It was great racing - and great for F1."

Agence France-Presse

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