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Fantastic Vettel Finishes First, Hamilton stays ahead

Sebastian Vettel (pronounced “Fettle”) was today in fine fettle and form (sorry about the pun – couldn’t resist it!) and led from pole into the record books. He’s the youngest driver ever to win a GP, removing Alonso from that position. Not only did he get that record, but he’s the first driver to win a GP for Dietrich Mateschitz, boss of Red Bull, and the first driver to win for Minardi (OK, not Minardi anymore, but that’s what Seb’s team used to be called). He’s also the first driver to win a GP for ex-GP driver and 10 times GP winner Gerhard Berger. On top of that, he’s the first driver to win at Monza in the Italian GP with a Ferrari customer engine!

Sebastian Vettel will certainly now be regarded in Germany as the new Schumacher – first of all he’s a German in an Italian car (with a Ferrari engine); he learned his craft at the Schumacher family’s kart track in Kerpen, and even comes from the same part of Germany. He has one major asset over Schumacher though – he’s a really nice guy. Oh yes, and he isn’t pug ugly either. The girls are gonna love him – but he’s already going out with a girl with an English mother and apparently loves Monty Python, Little Britain, and can even tell jokes!

This win couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Let’s hope the slower engine in the Red Bull he’ll be driving next year won’t be detrimental to his career progress (or that Red Bull get a better engine…).

Lewis Hamilton rescued what he could from his disastrous qualifying when he didn’t even survive Q2 and so had to start from 15th. He climbed 8 places to finish 7th at the close though, just one place and one point behind Massa who finished where he started. Lewis still leads the World Championship – by one point, so it is close! Kimi Raikkonnen, who started one place ahead of Hamilton finished two places behind him in 9th and out of the points, but again got the fastest lap. What on earth is Kimi playing at? He (or his car) seems useless on cold tyres.

Max Mosley made a trip down the grid, letting everyone know he was back – and that of course included the stewards who clearly needed a bit of discipline after their antics of the last week. As I predicted before the race, the new rule governing chicanes and overtaking by cutting them short caused some chaos in the field.

It certainly prevented some interesting battles from flowing, and nearly cost Massa a place to Hamilton when Massa had to give a place back to a car he was trying to overtake (I think it was Mark Webber’s Red Bull) and then had to trundle around behind the slower car ahead of him all around the Curva Grande while Lewis Hamilton, his main title rival was able to travel at full speed, unimpeded by a slower car.

If Hamilton hadn’t have worked his tyres so much from his pit stop and still had some life in them, he could have sailed past both Massa and the mobile chicane in front of him without the normal degree of effort required – thanks to the new chicane regulation that made Massa wait behind the slower car until Lewis caught him up. There’s some poetic justice in there somewhere!

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