Germany′s Vettel Becomes Youngest-Ever F1 Grand Prix Winner | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.09.2008
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Germany's Vettel Becomes Youngest-Ever F1 Grand Prix Winner

Sebastian Vettel in a Toro Roso on Sunday became the youngest-ever Formula One race as he took the Italian Grand Prix, beating Heiki Kovalainen in a McLaren-Mercedes into second place.

Vettel in his car during the race

Sebastian Vettel steered his Toro Rosso to a historic victory on Sunday

Third place went to Robert Kubica in a BMW-Sauber.

At 21 years and 74 days, Vettel, who started from pole, broke the previous mark of 22 years, 26 days set in August 2003 by Fernando Alonso at the Hungarian Grand Prix, to give his team their first-ever Grand Prix victory.

As Vettel crossed the line he briefly buried his head in his hands as he drove down the straight and told the race engineers of his Italian team that he was simply speechless.

"Grazie mile, grazie mile," he said over the intercom.

Due to wet conditions, the race started behind the safety car, allowing Vettel to keep the lead, which he held onto until his first fuel stop. He then regained the lead after the other drivers came into the pits for their fuel stop.

Less rain than predicted

Toro Rosso Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel posing for photographers

Vettel stunned Formula One with his Italian GP win

Although forecasts predicted more rain during the race, Fernando Alonso in a Renault and Mark Webber in a Red Bull chose intermediate tyres during their first pit stop, prompting others to also change to intermediates.

Championship leader Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes, who started from 15th, took a while to get going, but then started overtaking the field from the back.

He pitted shortly after Vettel, but, unlike most of the other drivers, put in enough fuel to stay out for the remaining race.

However, even though he had planned on a one-stop strategy, he had to come in a second time as he went out on wet tyres after his first stop and had to change to intermediates.

Upfront Vettel continued pushing for a historic victory ahead of Kovalainen, Kubica and Alonso.

Furious chase

Behind them, Hamilton was continuing his furious chase and with 12 laps remaining, was running a close seventh behind Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa.

The Briton seemed to be pushing to overtake the Brazilian, but then suddenly with just a few laps to go, looked as if he needed to spare his tyres and made no further attempts to get past.

He finished seventh, behind Heidfeld and Massa and ahead of Webber, who took the final championship point.

Hamilton retains the lead with 78 points from Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who finished sixth to go to 77 points.

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