Unsurprisingly, Formula One's newest, youngest, race winner has admitted to enjoying every single moment of the Italian Grand Prix, but also confessed that he has never concentrated so hard in his short racing career.

Sebastian Vettel appeared the class of the field at Monza, triumphing over adverse conditions where other, more favoured, runners floundered, and then leading consummately from start to finish in the race to convert his maiden pole position into a comfortable victory that made him - and Scuderia Toro Rosso - the talk of the wider F1 world.

Already an affable character, the 21-year old German could hardly be restrained from reliving every moment of the 53-laps, describing each emotion and thought that struck him during the 86-and-a-bit minutes that he was racing.

"It's unbelievable," he admitted, "The whole race, we had no problems, the car was working really fine. I had a fantastic race with a very good strategy, but all that was gone when I got the chequered flag and crossed the finish line. The lap back to the pits and the whole podium ceremony was just unbelievable. I think for sure this is the best day of my life. These pictures, these emotions, I will never forget."

The race began behind the safety car - something Vettel admitted helped him hold on to his advantage on the run to the Rettifilio after being released - and then fluctuated from being very wet, to drying out, to ending with the threat of further rain imminent. All of which focused the mind of the still inexperienced race leader.

"The safety car definitely helped me, and being first and having no visibility problems at all was the key as I could make quite a good solid gap of about six to seven seconds to Heikki [Kovalainen] straight away," he revealed, "After that, I was pushing very hard - and, sometimes, went a bit over the limit and nearly lost the car as it was so difficult as there was a lot of water.

"Obviously, it was very difficult for the guys behind me - I have been there a couple of times and I remember how it feels, going down the straight without seeing anything. You're looking left, you're looking right, then, all of a sudden, the first board appears, hopefully 200 metres so you can prepare yourself for braking. It's anything else but comfortable."

While the entire field coped with the conditions without incident, Vettel explained that the near-flooded track wasn't the worst of it.

"I think it got trickier when we were in the middle of the race and there was no standing water anymore," he said, referring to the 'extreme' wet beginning to give up its grip on the drying track, "I think everyone went left and right looking for some water to cool the tyres. It was very, very slippery then and Lewis [Hamilton] was coming. My engineer always gave me the reference lap time. At one point, he said 'he's lapping in 1min 34.5secs' and, at that time, I was struggling a bit to find the grip and I did around 1min 36s. I was pushing then but, obviously, he then went to the pits and I was trouble-free again."

With the forecast threat of further heavy rain not coming to pass, the biggest question to tax the minds of the teams was when to move from the 'extremes' to Bridgestone's 'normal' wet, still referred to as 'intermediates' by almost the entire grid. Despite being on a two-stop strategy, Vettel and Toro Rosso were aided by the fact that his gameplan had called for an early first stop, allowing him to pit at just the right time for the faster rubber.

"I stayed out a bit longer than Heikki and he put on the intermediate tyres, so I was on the radio with my team, talking to my engineer, and he said 'it is fine, let's go for inters' - I think it was the right choice," the German commented.

"My first stop, compared to other cars, was probably a bit early but, nevertheless, it was enough to stay in front of the one-stoppers, which was crucial. I came out three or four seconds in front of Nico [Rosberg], and I think he was the leader of the one-stop pack at that time. From there onwards, it was clear that we could overshoot him and at least stay in front of that group.

"We calculated Heikki [would run] longer than us and, in the end, [our stop] might have been early, but it worked out. To be honest, the last couple of races were extremely busy, stuck in traffic and so on. The last races were a bit better, and I got clean air here and there, but this race was probably the most trouble-free I ever did. Obviously, I was in the lead, so I only had to call for blue flags and could concentrate on my car, on my tyres, taking care of them and focusing just to push as hard as I could."

The Toro Rosso was the fastest car through the speed traps, confirming rivals' suggestions that the team is now among the best in the wet. Vettel, however, insisted that some credit be given to his team for deciding on the right set-up 24 hours ahead of the race.

"I think we made the right choice [on Saturday]," he claimed, "We didn't set the car up for rain conditions as I was thinking that today was going to be a dry race. We didn't go for a more downforce configuration. Thinking it might be dry, we stuck to the dry level and didn't touch it, so on the straight lines we were bloody fast compared to all the others. Obviously it was not easy, especially at the beginning, but we had a lot of speed in a straight line, obviously."

Rejoining from his final pit-stop still at the head of field proved to be a mind-boggling situation for Vettel, who was left to try and juggle disbelief at running first with concentrating to make sure he brought the car home.

"Sometimes I was thinking 'there is still P1 on my board, how can it be'," he admitted, "I am fuelled to finish, there is nothing [else to do], no pit-stops, so just keep it together. P1 was still on the board, P1, P1 and a plus, and I was leading by quite a bit, and I thought 'f***k, you know, if you finish the race, you will be winning'.

"I have to say I was extremely focused every lap. I didn't lift and try to save the engine or the tyres or anything. Of course, I was looking after my car, but I was trying to keep attention too because, especially towards the end, when there was kind of a dry line throughout some corners, it was crucial to stay on that dry line. Just half a metre too wide and you can be off. So it was extremely difficult to keep up your concentration but, in the end, I was just trying to push and trying to increase the gap to the guys behind.

"The conditions were difficult but, in the end, it was not so difficult to keep up concentration. Sometimes, I lifted my hand out of the cockpit to feel if it was drizzling and how big the raindrops were but, in the end, it was difficult, so you automatically had to keep up your concentration. I always tried to push and, obviously, towards the last couple of laps, I was controlling it. I had quite a comfortable lead, so I could control it in the last couple of laps - but I forgot all about being in the lead."

"I was still enjoying it, and I had a lot of fun from lap one to the last lap, but it was difficult to realise what happened. Obviously, when I crossed the chequered flag, I realised I had just won the race - and it was unbelievable to see all the people going crazy around the circuit. It was the best lap I ever did at Monza. Obviously, it was not the fastest but, for sure, it was the best one."

And the emotion did not stop when he climbed from the cockpit for, having been feted by his team and completed the immediate post-race formalities, Vettel was able to walk out to Monza's signature podium and soak up the adulation from an Italian crowd delighted to see one of its own, Toro Rosso, triumphing against the odds.

"Stopping the car in parc ferme and coming up on that podium was unbelievable," he reflected, "It might sound stupid, but just the shape of the podium and to have the crowd underneath you, this picture I will never forget in my life. To see the people. my team, my family down there..... and they were going completely mad.

"From the first corner, there was a huge crowd coming, so it was getting more and more packed and then, obviously, to listen to my anthem, the German national anthem, was fantastic - I nearly started to cry.

"And then the Italian national anthem for my team and for all the people that have worked so hard in the past. I have been a member [of the team] now for a bit more than one season and I think what we have achieved so far is great. I think everybody will fall asleep with the feeling that we are winners. That is great, fantastic.

"I don't know what else to say."


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