A dominant eighth win of the year later, the German looked like he had been playing himself down rather. With his points lead up to 112, Vettel can claim his second straight title in Singapore in a fortnight.
He left the action behind him in a race where it was mainly the presence of a dogged Michael Schumacher in the top three for some time that generated thrills and spills, rather than the much-discussed independent double DRS zones.
Several more deals for 2012 were announced over the Monza weekend, with Red Bull retaining Renault engines and Lotus retaining Jarno Trulli. The chances of Robert Kubica returning to a Renault seat were also high on the agenda as his manager Daniele Morelli gave an encouraging update about the Pole's progress.
Monza also saw the GP3 title battle resolved as Valtteri Bottas completed his comeback from a seemingly hopeless mid-season position to beat ART team-mate James Calado to the crown. In GP2, the success of Luca Filippi's mid-year switch to Coloni was firmly underlined as he racked up another win and claimed the runner-up spot in the championship.
The NASCAR championship race is really only just beginning, with Richmond deciding the identity of the drivers who have qualified for the Chase - with this weekend's winner Kevin Harvick among the favourites.
The World Rally Championship title battle closed up amid rain, crashes and team orders in Australia, where Mikko Hirvonen won and Sebastien Loeb only managed 10th.
There was plenty of rain for the GT1 World Championship field at Beijing's Goldenport track too. The Young Driver Aston Martin crews avoided the chaos to take a win each.
In other sportscar action, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup continued with another huge Peugeot versus Audi scrap in Silverstone's AUTOSPORT 6 Hours, from which Peugeot's Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais emerged victorious.
The F1 sessions
Hamilton tops first practice at Monza
Vettel back on top in second practice
Vettel on top after final practice
Vettel storms to Monza pole position
Vettel closes on title with Monza win
The F1 headlines
Senna tells Renault to be tough with him
Vettel insists title still not guaranteed
Hamilton: I'm not over-aggressive
Costa set for return with Mercedes
Red Bull extends Renault engine deal
Vettel: McLaren the team to beat
Kubica set to get behind wheel again
Q & A with Kubica's manager Morelli
FIA says camber limit is mandatory
Hamilton: Vettel was untouchable
Gear ratio key to Vettel's win chances
Lotus extends Trulli contract for 2012
Mid-October deadline for Kubica
Liuzzi blames Kovalainen for crash
Webber says title fight now over
The motorsport action
WRC: Hirvonen takes win and gains on Loeb
ILMC: Peugeot wins the AUTOSPORT 6 Hours
NASCAR: Harvick wins as Chase field set
GP2: Filippi dominates race one at Monza
GP2: Vietoris takes a lights-to-flag win
GP3: Bottas clinches GP3 title with victory
GP3: Da Costa wins thrilling season finale
F3 Euro: Merhi cruises to victory in race one
F3 Euro: Sorensen takes debut Euro Series win
F3 Euro: Wittmann wins dramatic finale
World GT1: Muller/Enge win in Beijing rain
World GT1: Turner/Mucke take dramatic win
IRC: Kopecky wins in thrilling finish