MONZA, ITALY // Sebastian Vettel may continue his charade of refusing to accept he has secured a second successive world championship, but his tears betrayed his words.
The German driver openly wept as he stood on the podium at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza Sunday.
The reason was more likely courtesy of the fact he was back on the step where he had been presented with his first grand prix winners' trophy four years ago, but even he - a 24 year old who claims to never look at the drivers' standings - must have known the significance of the victory on his Red Bull Racing team's bogey track.
The result means that Vettel now leads the world championship by 112 points with six races remaining. A podium in Singapore could seal the deal, depending on the finishing positions of the other title contenders.
Vettel has maintained he does not care for the world championship standings yet and just wants to win races. When he was informed of the inevitability of his crowning, he simply replied: "Wow."
When he continued, his predictable prattle returned: "Nice to win", "I think we have put ourselves in a very good position", "We'll just do Singapore as we did all the other races" and "Go there and take it step-by-step".
Vettel's victory in Monza was his eighth win from 13 races this season and, initially at least, he had to fight for it.
Having started on pole - for the 10th time this year - he lost his lead to an impressive Alonso before the first turn, but when a high-speed shunt involving Hispania's Vitantonio Liuzzi took out several drivers and also produced the safety car, he was able to position himself and produce an audacious pass to regain his lead.
From that moment on the victory was never in doubt.
"Very emotional," Vettel said. "This circuit means a lot to me and has been very special.
"Obviously, I got my first win here [with Toro Rosso in 2008], so when I crossed the line I remembered every single bit."
Alonso is now Vettel's nearest competitor in the driver's standings, but even he has conceded the ultimate race is over.
"Yeah, six races to go, obviously the championship is impossible, not mathematically, but we are no longer in contention, so we try to enjoy every race, we try to go for individual victories," he said.
"Also fighting for second place in the championship because it's always better to finish second than fifth."
Vettel, sitting next to Alonso, refused to agree.
"I allow myself to say we are in a great position, and if you ask any driver they would like to change positions," he said. "But it's not over until it's over."
FIRST POINTS FOR SENNA
The two world championship points that Bruno Senna picked up by finishing ninth for Renault were his first in Formula One.
Italian GP race results
1 Vettel, Red Bull 1h20m.46.172s
2 Button, McLaren +9.560
3 Alonso, Ferrari +16.909
4 Hamilton, McLaren +17.471
6 Massa, Ferrari +42.993
9 Senna, Renault +1 lap
10 Buemi, Toro Rosso +1 lap
12 Barrichello, Williams + 1 lap
14 Trulli, Lotus +1 lap
16 Ricciardo, HRT 40 laps
18 Kobayashi, Sauber 23 laps
19 Sutil, Force India 11 laps
20 Webber, Red Bull 6 laps
21 d'Ambrosio, Virgin 3 laps
22 Petrov, Renault 0 laps
23 Rosberg, Mercedes 0 laps
24 Liuzzi, HRT 0 laps
Sebastian Vettel, Germany 284 pts
Fernando Alonso, Spain 172
Jenson Button, Great Britain 167
Mark Webber, Australia 167
Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain 158
Felipe Massa, Brazil 82
Nico Rosberg, Germany 56
Michael Schumacher, Germany 52
Vitaly Petrov, Russia 34
Nick Heidfeld, Germany 34
Kamui Kobayashi, Japan 27
Adrian Sutil, Germany 24
Jaime Alguersuari, Spain 16
Sebastien Buemi, Switzerland 13
Paul di Resta, Great Britain 12
Sergio Perez, Mexico 8
Rubens Barrichello, Brazil 4
Bruno Senna, Brazil 2
Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela 1
Heikki Kovalainen, Finland 0
Daniel Ricciardo, Australia 0
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Italy 0
Timo Glock, Germany 0
Jerome d’Ambrosio, Belgium 0
Jarno Trulli, Italy 0
Red Bull-Renault 469 pts
Mercedes GP 108
Force India-Mercedes 36
Toro Rosso-Ferrari 29