Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in the Drivers’ World Championship to more than 50 points and was then booed by the crowd after claiming a polished victory for Red Bull in yesterday’s Italian GP.
The 26-year-old German, series leader and defending triple World Champion, survived a torrid start and gearbox problems as he dominated an intriguing 53-laps race.
Vettel came home 5.4 seconds clear of Fernando Alonso, as the Ferrari driver thrilled the tifosi with a battling chase in pursuit ahead of third-placed Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull and Brazilian Felipe Massa, fourth in the second Ferrari.
On a warm, if overcast, afternoon, Vettel proved both his sublime talent and fighting spirit — both Red Bull men were told to nurse their cars home — to reel off his sixth win of the season.
It was also the 32nd of his career, equaling Alonso’s total on the list of winners. It was Vettel’s third win at Monza — and greeted by loud booing from the tifosi who flooded across the circuit during a dramatic podium ceremony.
“It was a fantastic race, but you can hear the difference when you don’t win here in a red suit,” said Vettel, who claimed his maiden victory for the Italian-owned Toro Rosso team in the rain-hit 2008 race.
“But this means you have done well and beaten the red men! It was a great team effort today. The race was terrific for both of us as we had problems with the gearboxes at the end, I was ok because I had a good cushion. It is a fantastic win.”
His brilliance, however, was matched on the day by that of Briton Lewis Hamilton, who started 12th, lost the use of his team radio and suffered a slow puncture, but he fought back twice to finish ninth.
“A nightmare weekend,” he said before conceding that he felt it was virtually impossible for him now to fight for the title.
Hamilton said: “It’s awful when you are just empty of energy and have given everything for just two places — and that’s it for the championship.
“It was a very difficult weekend. Ninth. I should have been much further ahead and I am very disappointed with myself. I blew it in qualifying and it was impossible to make up the places. Overall, it has been a nightmare, a disaster of a weekend.
“Of course, I will keep on pushing and give it my best and try to win some races and take some points here and there but in that car he is so fast.”