Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Italian Grand Prix at a canter yesterday to move 53 points clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the Formula One championship after six victories from 12 races.
The triple champion, who celebrated his 32nd career win and third at Monza to boos from Ferrari fans, led from pole position with the possibility of rain looking more of a threat than his rivals.
Alonso finished runner-up with Red Bull’s Mark Webber taking third place to deny Ferrari’s Felipe Massa a place on the podium.
It was Webber’s first appearance on the Monza podium.
Vettel now has 222 points to Alonso’s 169, with Lewis Hamilton on 141 with seven races remaining.
“Fantastic race,” said Vettel in a podium interview with former Ferrari champion John Surtees, to boos and whistles from the massed ranks of Ferrari faithful
“But you can hear the difference when you don’t win here in a red suit,” added the German, who had to manage a tire problem in his first stint and mechanical worries in the closing laps.
“We had problems with the gearboxes at the end, but I was OK because I had a good cushion and it was a fantastic win,” he said.
Vettel took the first victory of his F1 career at Monza for Toro Rosso, an Italian team, and yesterday’s reception was far less enthusiastic with Alonso left in no doubt that he was the crowd’s hero.
“Second place is good, to have this podium ceremony which is the most spectacular podium of the year. Hopefully we’ll come back next year and have first place,” said the Spaniard, who had started in fifth place and behind Massa.
The Brazilian, who was second at the end of the first lap with Alonso fourth, did his duty and let Alonso through without a fuss on lap eight once the Spaniard had passed Webber with a bold move.
Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Sauber with compatriot Nico Rosberg sixth for Mercedes and Australian Daniel Ricciardo seventh for Toro Rosso.
Romain Grosjean of France was eighth for Lotus, with Jenson Button 10th to take a point for McLaren.
Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen had a first lap collision and suffered his second successive race without a point.
Britain’s Paul Di Resta retired on the first lap after a collision with Grosjean while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was the only other retirement.