x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Despite a huge points lead, Vettel says 'it's not over'

Even with his competitors claiming the title is his, Sebastian Vettel refuses to agree. After winning the Italian Grand Prix, Vettel acknowledges he is in a great position, but adds: 'It's not over until it's over'.

Up went Sebastian Vettel's arm as he crosses the finish line and points to the sky to signify that he has won the Italian Grand Prix.
Up went Sebastian Vettel's arm as he crosses the finish line and points to the sky to signify that he has won the Italian Grand Prix.

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.

Vettel sped past the chequered flag 9.5 seconds before Jenson Button's McLaren-Mercedes, while Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished third to provide the fervent home support with something to cheer.

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."

The stark reality is Vettel could fail to finish every race from now until the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 14 and still arrive at Yas Marina at the top of the drivers' standings.


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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

5 Schumacher, Mercedes +32.677

6 Massa, Ferrari +42.993

7 Alguersuari, Toro Rosso + 1 lap

8 Di Resta, Force India +1 lap

9 Senna, Renault +1 lap

10 Buemi, Toro Rosso +1 lap

11 Maldonado, Williams +1 lap

12 Barrichello, Williams + 1 lap

13 Kovalainen, Lotus +1 lap

14 Trulli, Lotus +1 lap

15 Glock, Virgin +1 lap


16 Ricciardo, HRT 40 laps

17 Perez, Sauber 34 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


Drivers’ championship

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


Constructors’ championship

Red Bull-Renault 469 pts

McLaren-Mercedes 325

Ferrari 254

Mercedes GP 108

Renault 70

Force India-Mercedes 36

Sauber-Ferrari 35

Toro Rosso-Ferrari 29

Williams-Cosworth 5

Lotus-Renault 0

HRT-Cosworth 0

Virgin-Cosworth 0