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Italian GP 2008

SEPTEMBER 14, 2008

Race Notes - Vettel wins rain soaked Italian GP from pole

Start, Italian GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive

Sebastian Vettel took a stunning upset victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza today in his Toro Rosso-Ferrari, finishing 12.5 seconds ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the McLaren-Mercedes and 20.4 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber in third place.

The race started in the wet and finished in damp but drying conditions, and Vettel took his first career victory in style, becoming the youngest ever Grand Prix winner. The win is also the maiden victory for the small Italian team (that started life as Minardi) in a stunning display at it's home Grand Prix. It is the first win for an Italian team other than Ferrari since 1957.

Fernando Alonso (23.9s) in the Renault was fourth, followed by Nick Heidfeld (27.7s) in the second BMW Sauber was fifth, Felipe Massa (28.8s) in the Ferrari in sixth, Lewis Hamilton (29.9s) in the McLaren-Mercedes in seventh and Mark Webber (32.0s) in the final points paying position.

Hamilton now leads the World Championship with 78 points, just one point over Massa, and Kubica 14 points behind in third. Ferrari leads the Constructors' Championship with 134 points, to McLaren-Mercedes with 129 and BMW Sauber at 117 points.

Before the start, Kazuki Nakajima and Jenson Button lined up from the pitlane.

The track being wet, it was announced that the field would start the race behind the Safety Car, Sebastian Vettel lining up on pole after taking his first career pole in the rain on Saturday.

As the cars left the grid Sebastien Bourdais was stranded from fourth place, and was pushed away to the pitlane, the team unable to get the car started, and going a lap down.

At lap 2 the Safety Car pulled off and the race got under way, Vettel taking the lead followed Kovalainen, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Trulli, Alonso, Glock, Heidfeld and Kubica in tenth place.

On lap 3 Glock battled Alonso for seventh, Alonso getting back around him, while Coulthard passing Fisichella for 11th, and Hamilton passing Raikkonen, but cutting the chicane, let him back by again - Raikkonen 12th, Hamilton 13th.

On lap 7 Glock, attempting to go down the inside of Alonso at the first chicane, spun but continued, Kubica passing him. Vettel cutting across the chicane but continuing, while Raikkonen battled to pass Fisichella in 11th with Hamilton on his tail - getting by on lap 9.

At lap 10 Vettel continued pulling away at the front from Kovalainen, the gap up to 6.6 seconds, followed by Webber (11.0s), Rosberg (17.8s), Massa (18.5s), Trulli (21.2), Alonso (24.2s), Kubica (28.4s), Glock (29.1s) and Heidfeld (31.4s) in tenth place.

On lap 10 Hamilton passes Raikkonen into the first Lesmo corner to take 11th place.

On lap 13 Massa fights to pass Rosberg for fourth in the first chicane, Rosberg fighting back but Massa passing him at the Roggia chicane. Fisichella touches Coulthard in the chicane, damaging his front wing, which later in the lap breaks off, sending the Italian driver off the track into the tyre barriers, ending his race.

On lap 14 Hamilton passes Heidfeld for 10th place.

On lap 16 Hamilton passes Glock into the first chicane to take ninth place. With a dryer line starting to appear in spots, drivers start to look for water to cool their tyres - but reports of more rain coming.

On lap 17 Hamilton passes Kubica for 8th place, while Barrichello pits.

On lap 19 Vettel with a 10 second lead pits, taking on another set of full wet tyres and rejoining in fourth. On the run down the front straight Hamilton passes Alonso for seventh place, while Glock passes Kubica for ninth place.

At lap 20 Kovalainen leads Webber by 5.2 seconds, followed by Massa (11.0s), Vettel (19.5s), Rosberg (24.8s), Trulli (25.5), Hamilton (26.7s), Alonso (30.8s), Glock (31.7s), Kubica (34.2s), Heidfeld (35.4s) and Raikkonen (36.3s) in 12th place.

On lap 22 Hamilton passes Trulli, but cuts the chicane - then letting the Toyota driver take the position back.

On lap 23 Kovalainen, Webber and Massa make their first pitstops, handing the lead back to Vettel.

On lap 23 Hamilton retakes Trulli, and runs in third place.

On lap 24 Raikkonen finally passes Heidfeld for 10th place. The next lap Hamilton passes Rosberg for second place.

On lap 26 Glock pits from sixth.

On lap 27 Trulli and Raikkonen pit, while on the track Hamilton (yet to stop) closes to a second behind leader Vettel, but makes his pitstop at the end of the lap, on a one stop strategy, rejoining in tenth place.

On lap 29 Rosberg pits from third place, along with Coulthard, taking on intermediate wets.

On lap 30 Heidfeld pits. Alonso pitting the next lap switching to intermediates. While Raikkonen passes Glock for 11th.

At lap 31 Vettel, with a second stop still to come, continued to lead Kovalainen by 12.3 seconds, followed by Kubica (18.3s), Webber (21.7s), Massa (23.7s), Hamilton (33.0s), Piquet (39.2s), Raikkonen (45.2s), Trulli (47.5s) and Nakajima (49.1s) in tenth place, Kubica and Piquet yet to make their first stops.

On lap 31 Raikkonen passes Trulli for eighth place.

On lap 34 Massa makes his second stop from fifth place, along with Glock and Rosberg. Kovalainen, Kubica and Webber pitting the next lap all going for intermediate wet tyres.

On lap 36 Raikkonen and Trulli pit. Webber spinning, but continueing.

On lap 37 leader Vettel pits with a 35 second lead over Hamilton, taking on intermediate wets, coming out still in the lead, while Hamilton and Piquet also pit. Webber passing Hamilton into the first chicane, but Hamilton repassing him. Button and Piquet interlock wheels in the chicane, but continue.

At lap 38 Vettel led Kovalainen by 9.7 seconds followed by Kubica (20.3s), Alonso (23.5s), Heidfeld (24.1s), Massa (24.7s), Hamilton (30.3s), Webber (32.8s), Barrichello (35.6s) and Coulthard (42.4s) in tenth place.

On lap 40 Massa battles Heidfeld for fifth place short cutting the chicane, but giving the place back, with Hamilton lurking close behind.

On lap 43 Raikkonen passes Nakajima for 13th place.

At lap 43, with 10 laps remaining, Vettel continued to lead Kovalainen by 13.0 seconds, followed by Kubica (24.3s), Alonso (28.9s), Heidfeld (30.3s), Massa (31.0s), Hamilton (31.8s), Webber (36.3s), Barrichello (46.9s) and Piquet (49.7s) in tenth place.

On lap 44 Barrichello pits, while his team mate Button pits on lap 46.

The track continued to improve with fast lap falling every lap.

On lap 48 Raikkonen passes Piquet for ninth.

On lap 49 Webber attempts a outside pass on Hamilton at the first chicane, the two touching tyres and Webber short-cutting the chicane - Hamilton then getting by.

On lap 51 Nakajima passes Coulthard into the Parabolica, the two coming together, pieces of bodywork coming off with debris on the track - Coulthard then pitting.

The order remained the same to the finish.