Race

14:02 Vettel is back on his grid slot as 23 weaving F1 cars line up behind him.

14:01 24 cars pull away from the grid cleanly for the formation lap. Time to warm up the tyres and brakes and set the car up for the quickest possible getaway.

14:00 Bruno Senna is starting on medium tyres alongside Rosberg on the fifth row. Sutil, Perez and Kobayashi are on the hards further down the grid.

13:58 The Tifosi are out in force today with packed grandstands. There is only one team the majority of them want to win this afternoon, but you get the feeling they might be disappointed after Ferrari's performance so far this weekend.

13:57 The drivers are now belted into their cars and their teams will be asked to move aside anytime soon.

13:54 Track temperature is now up to 41C - pretty much where it was yesterday - and air temp us up to 29C.

13:50 Backlog at Lotus according to their Twitter feed: "So we had Massa, Button, Webber, Maldonado use our loo..."

13:48 Mark Webber says he is hoping for a decent start after some absolute shockers so far this season. He's confident his KERS will be operational so that will certainly help.

13:47 Adrian Newey is doing his customary Sunday grid walk, taking a look at all the aerodynamic solutions in use by Red Bull's rivals.

13:44 Webber has a much longer final gear ratio than Vettel which means he should have a higher top speed. However, Button, who has a final gear ratio somewhere in between, has just told the BBC that he thinks both Red Bulls have got it worng. I guess we'll find out the answer in about 90 minutes time.

13:42 Here's a picture from earlier today in the paddock. To be honest, we don't know the full story behind it but it looks as though Bernie Ecclestone was being presented with a Brembo brake.


© Sutton Images

13:40 Both Vettel and Hamilton have arrived on the front row of the grid with plenty of time to spare.

13:38 Arshdeep asks: "Has the 107% rule been scraped? By my calculations last four cars should not be on the grid."

Nope, the 107% rule is still there but it's calculated from the fastest time in Q1 and I suspect you've calculated yours from the fastest time in Q3.

13:35 One car to keep an eye on this afternoon is Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. He opted to qualify in Q3 on hard tyres in order to save two sets of fresh soft tyres for the race. If he can maintain his top ten position early on, he should be in a good position to fly through the field when he takes on his softs.

13:33 Williams says: "Pastor & Rubens head out - track temp currently 35C"

13:31 The cars are now heading out on circuit and heading for the grid. They tend to do one or two installation laps before settling onto their grid slot.

13:28 However, if the McLarens can keep in touch over those first two laps and then activate the DRS on lap three they should have a significant high-speed advantage over Vettel.

13:25 Of course the big question is whether the DRS can help the McLarens get past Vettel's Red Bull. Well the interesting rumour in the paddock is that Vettel is running a shorter set of gear ratios than the McLarens, which means he is quicker out of the chicanes but has a slower ultimate top speed. Vettel's race plan, therefore, is to sprint into the lead during the first two laps - when the DRS is not allowed - and build a gap of over a second on the McLarens behind to use his extra speed over a lap to pull away.

13:23 For those wondering, there is one DRS zone on the pit straight and one on the straight between the second Lesmo and the Ascari chicane. It should be interesting.

13:20 So, the DRS - what's all the fuss about? Well, when a driver gets within a second of the car in front he will be allowed to activate his rear wing flap which should give him a straight-line speed advantage. Nothing new there for followers of F1 this season, but at Monza there are two separate activation zones with two separate detection points. That means if one driver gets overtaken in the first zone he can try to battle back in the second zone on the same lap. It's the first time that's been allowed this season.

13:15 The engines are being warmed in the pit lane for the 53 lap race that lies ahead. Those engines will get a pretty thorough workout this afternoon with roughly 83% of this lap taken at full throttle. Yesterday the Renaults were quickest in a straightline with Senna recording speeds of around 347km/h with the aid of the DRS.

13:10 Welcome to ESPNF1's live commentary of the Italian Grand Prix. The race is about 50 minutes away and we should be in for an interesting one despite Sebastian Vettel easing to his tenth pole of the season in yesterday's qualifying. Key to the interest will be the use of the DRS overtaking aid around Monza's high-speed circuit, but more on that later. In the meantime if you have any questions or comments feel free to get in toucjh by clicking on the link at the top of this window.

Lap 1

Alonso gets a great start to lead into the first corner but there is a huge crash at the first corner.

Rosberg, Petrov and Liuzzi are all out of the race. It looks like Liuzzi lost the rear of his car into turn one and took out the cars ahead.

Kobayashi returns to the pits without a front wing.

Lap 2

Schumacher is up to fourth after a lightning start.

A replay of the start shows that Liuzzi tried to overtake but got stuck on the grass. He then lost the rear of the car and slid straight into the action zone in turn one. He smashed into Rosberg and Petrov.

Senna has pitted for soft tyres after he lost out at the start.

Lap 3

Sadly we won't find out how Rosberg's strategy was going to pan out. But Senna and Kobayashi can now use the soft compound for the rest of the race.

Alonso is backing up the pack for the restart. Hamilton gets caught sleeping and Vettel is a bit off Alonso. Safety car in this lap as Ricciardo pulls into the pits with some kind of problem.

Lap 4

Schumacher passes Hamilton for third as Webber gets close to Massa's gearbox in fifth.

Vettel putting the pressure on Alonso in the second chicane but the Ferrari keeps him at bay.

Lap 5

Alonso leads by just 0.3 seconds across the line and Vettel looks around the outside at turn one but can't make it stick.

Webber clashes into Massa in turn one.

Vettel fights back against Alonso through the Curve Grande, he ends up on the grass but makes it stick into the second chicane. Great move.

Webber is out of the race

Lap 6

Schumacher attacks Alonso but then has to defend against Hamilton into the second chicane great racing and they hold position.

Looks like Webber went off at the Parabolica after losing his front wing.

Lap 7

Vettel sets a fastest lap as he leads by 2.8 seconds. This is all falling into place for him.

Alonso is looking more comfortable in second now as Hamilton uses his DRS to close on Schumacher into the Ascari chicane.

A replay of Webber's accident shows that his front wing eneded up underneath his car and then he couldn't stop it from high speed into the Parabolica.

Lap 8

Hamilton is still trying to pass with the DRS but that Mercedes has very good straight line speed even without the flap open.

Lap 9

Schumacher uses his KERS to defend against Hamilton's DRS usage. Interesting battle developing between those two but Vettel is now 4.2 seconds ahead at the front now.

Lap 10

Hamilton was tucked up right behind Schumacher on that last lap but his DRS shut half way down the straight. Does he have a problem with it.

Meanwhile Massa breezes past Maldonado on the pit straight for sixth.

Hamilton makes Schumacher close the gap into Ascari, that appears to be where he is getting closest.

Lap 11

Sutil is out of the race. It looks like a mechanical issue on the Force India.

Hamilton tries it around the outside into Parabolica but can't find a way to make it stick.

Lap 12

Hamilton appears to be hitting the limiter on the pit straight whereas Schumacher has a longer final ratio that allows him to hold position.

Vettel is now 6.8 seconds clear of Alonso at the front.

Lap 13

Hamilton makes the move stick this time after a great run around the Parabolica. But Schumacher fights back out of the first chicane and passes the McLaren around the outside through the Curve Grande. Hamilton will have to do it all over again as Button joins the battle.

Lap 14

Vettel is a different class at the front with a lead of 7.8 seconds.

Massa gets told to get a move on to catch up with the Mercedes/McLaren battle.

Lap 15

Hamilton has another chance to pass into turn one but hits the rev limiter and that allows Schumacher to retake the inside line.

Lap 16

It's even closer on this lap between Schumacher and Hamilton and Button gets involved too. Schumacher gets a bad drive out of the first chicane, Hamilton attacks but is squeezed onto the grass. That allows Button to pass Hamilton.

Button then makes a move stick into Ascari on his first attempt. Brilliant move. Schumacher now pits with his rear tyres clearly lacking grip.

Lap 17

So Vettel now leads by 10 seconds from Alonso. Button is now third, 5.7 seconds off the Ferrari and Hamilton is still fourth.

Button pits. Soft tyres go on the McLaren.

Lap 18

Schumacher was really pushing the limits in his defence of Hamilton. He was looking in his mirror and left Hamilton no space as he came up the inside. Technically he did nothing wrong but it was very dangerous.

Lap 19

Hamilton has now pitted. Soft tyres go on but he can't get out in front of Schumacher. Hamilton's race is going from bad to worse!

Alguersuari has moved up from seventh to ninth, getting past Perez and Maldonado. We only saw the aftermath on the TV not the move itself.

Lap 20

Alonso pits and comes out with Button in his mirrors.

Hamilton is on the back of Schumacher again and ready for a rematch. Schumacher moves twice to defend into the first Lesmo - that was also borderline.

Lap 21

Vettel pits for softs and comes out still in the lead.

Hamilton finds himself bumping against the limiter once more into turn one and tells his team that he felt Schumacher made two moves across the track - which is illegal - into the Lesmo on the last lap.

Lap 22

More of the same between Hamilton and Schumacher into turn one. It would be great to read Hamilton's thoughts right now.

Lap 23

Vettel sets another fastest lap to extend his lead to 11.7 seconds over Alonso. Button is now 1.6 seconds off the Ferrari.

Meanwhile Schumacher is keeping his Mercedes firmly on the inside line in both the first and second chicanes.

Kobayashi is out of the race with a smoking engine.

Lap 24

Schumacher is reminded to leave more room into Ascari by Ross Brawn. No sign of a stewards' investigation yet.

Schumacher is also launching his cars well over the first kerb into the Ascari - within the white lines - and that is also questionable under the rules. But to give Schumacher his dues, he is doing an amazing job in a slower car. It's the Schumacher of old in more ways than one.

Lap 25

Vettel is now 12.2 seconds clear as Button sets a new fastest lap to close the gap to Alonso to 1.0 second. He will be entering the DRS usage zone now.

Lap 26

Buemi passes Maldonado with ease into turn one to take tenth place.

Schumacher now told to "leave room for the car behind when you change direction". The message was once again delivered by team principal Ross Brawn.

Lap 27

Button is now on Alonso's tail for second place. Vettel sets another fastest lap to extend his lead to 12.7 seconds.

Button uses the DRS to close on Alonso into the Ascari chicane.

Hamilton finally passes Schumacher into Ascari. It loooked like Schumacher's rear tyres were shot and he didn't have good drive out of the second Lesmo.

Lap 28

Attention turns to Button v Alonso with 0.6 seconds separating them.

Lap 29

Vettel is roughly 0.3s faster a lap than Alonso now, but the Ferrari now has Button worrying him in his mirrors.

Lap 30

But Button is nowhere near Alonso into the first chicane this time around. He's got to pick his time to make it stick, once again the McLaren looks faster into Ascari than anywhere else.

Lap 31

Vettel's pace is increasing lap on lap as his fuel load comes down. The lead is now 13.8 seconds.

Alguersuari passes di Resta fairly easily into turn one for eighth position. This is another strong showing from the Toro Rosso driver after dropping out in Q1 in qualifying. Senna has moved up to 11th after his early pit stop. He's just passed Maldonado with ease on the pit straight.

Lap 32

Di Resta has now pitted his tyres were obviously right on the edge.

Vettel's lead is now 14.1 seconds. Button has dropped off the back of Alonso now with the gap at 1.5 seconds last time they crossed the line.

Lap 33

Hamilton is currently 8.3 seconds off Button and lapping at a similar pace.

Lap 34

Button heads for the pits and nearly gets blocked by Barrichello. That will have cost him some time but the good news is that he comes out ahead of the Williams which he was lapping.

The question now is when Alonso will pit. Button will be fast now on new rubber.

Lap 35

And Alonso pits, as does Hamilton.

Perez has stopped on track.

Alonso resumes ahead of Button but the gap is back down to a couple of tenths. They're both on the medium tyres which we know Ferrari have been struggling with.

Lap 36

Vettel makes a near-perfect final pit stop to take on medium tyres.

Button is close to Alonso through the first chicane and gets better drive out of the exit. The McLaren eases past the Ferrari through the Curve Grande and holds the position into the second chicane to make the move stick. Button up to second, Alonso drops to third.

Lap 37

My mistake, Schumacher is still on the track having not made his second pit stop. So right now he is second but that will change soon.

Lap 38

Schumacher does indeed pit to take on the medium tyres. He comes out behind Hamilton but it's still pretty close between those two.

Lap 39

Now that the order has sorted itself out again, Vettel is 15.7 seconds clear of Button so should have the race sewn up.

Alonso is still on the back of the McLaren however, so we could still see some excitement ahead of the chequered flag in 14 laps time.

Lap 40

Vettel clocks a 1:27.004 to set a new fastest lap. Button also sets his best lap of the race but it's a 1:27.274. The gap increases to 16 seconds.

Alonso is now 1.1 seconds off Button so just outside the DRS zone.

Buemi locks up his rears on the entrance to the first chicane and has to cut the corner. He keeps the car pointing in the right direction though and holds onto eighth place. Senna is 5.6 seconds behind in ninth so might fancy his chances of passing the Toro Rosso.

Lap 41

Buemi and Senna pit for the final time.

Button sets a new fastest lap, marginally faster than Vettel. In doing so he increases his lead over Alonso to 1.8 seconds.

Lap 42

Hamilton is also quick at the moment na dmoves up to fourth now that Massa has made his final stop.

Lap 43

Hamilton is about 0.2 seconds a lap faster than Alonso but the gap is currently 7.2 seconds with just ten laps remaining. Schumacher is 5.4 seconds off Hamilton but lapping a fair bit slowe. He has a gap of 13.6 seconds over Massa.

Lap 44

Vettel has now knocked the edge off his pace to ease the car to the line. The gap is 15.7 seconds so he can afford to do so.

Hamilton sets a stonking lap to take 0.9s out of Alonso, maybe he can close the gap before the end of the race...

Senna is now closing on Buemi for ninth so we should see a good battle there. They both dropped back behind di Resta at the last stop.

Lap 45

Senna is on soft tyres compared to Buemi's mediums so shouldget the job done, but he very nearly lost his front wing into the first Lesmo - not a good place to try to overtake.

Lap 46

Hamilton has the gap to Alonso down to 5.2 seconds but the last lap was just a couple of tenths quicker as Alonso set his fastest lap of the race.

Lap 47

Senna has dropped off the back of Buemi a tad and doesn't seem to have the best traction. He is much better on the brakes though. He's close coming out of Ascari but the Toro Rosso is pretty quick in straight-line this weekend.

Lap 48

Senna makes the move stick into turn one. Nicely done in the end up the inside. Di Resta is Senna's next target but is 4.3 seconds ahead.

Hamilton is 4.9 seconds behind Alonso now.

Lap 49

Hamilton sets a new fastest lap to take 0.6 seconds out of Alonso. The gap is 4.3 seconds with five laps remaining.

Meanwhile Vettel is 14.8 seconds clear of Button and maintaining a constant pace.

Di Resta is told to push to keep Senna - on the options - behind him.

Lap 50

Hamilton takes another chunk of time out of Alonso as the Ferrari comes across back markers. The gap is now 2.9 seconds.

Hamilton now making his way past the same backmarkers but is also getting the use of the DRS in that traffic.

Lap 51

2.6 seconds is the gap between Hamilton and Alonso as they cross the line, but Hamilton locks up his front tyres as he comes up to lap a Toro Rosso in turn one. That would have cost him a tenth or two.

Lap 52

Vettel just has two laps to go now as he crosses the line 14.1 seconds ahead of Button.

Hamilton closes the gap again to 2.1 seconds, despite the dramas. He takes 0.6 seconds out of Alonso in the first two sectors... and the gap is just a second as they start the last lap.

Lap 53

So Vettel is closing on yet another win but all eyes are on Hamilton and Alonso.

Hamilton gets close into Ascari as Vettel crosses the line.... and Alonso holds off Hamilton to put a Ferrari on the podium at Monza. In between all that Button finished second.

Schumacher finishes fifth for another good result with Massa sixth. Alguersuari takes seventh from 18th on the grid and di Resta is eighth 0.8s ahead of Senna in ninth and Buemi tenth.

This was meant to be a race where the Red Bulls would struggle but that clearly wasn't the case. What a car this Red Bull RB7 is. Vettel now leads the championship by 112 points from Alonso. He can wrap up the title in Singapore in two weeks time but chances are he will take it in Japan. Either way it's fairly safe to say the title is over. But does that matter with such great racing week-in week-out?

The German national anthem rings out over a sea of Tifosi on the pit straight and Vettel looks a little emotional on the podium. Thanks for joining us this weekend on ESPNF1. I hope you enjoyed the race and make sure you stay with us for all the reaction from the teams and drivers.