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Vettel extends championship lead by winning Italian GP

September 08, 2013 20:14 IST

Vettel extends championship lead by winning Italian GP

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Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the Italian Grand Prix at a canter on Sunday 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 - which never came - looking more of a threat than his rivals.

Alonso finished runner-up -- 5.4 seconds behind -- with Red Bull's Mark Webber, who is leaving Formula One at the end of the season, taking third place in his final grand prix on European soil to deny Ferrari's Felipe Massa a place on the podium.

It was Webber's first appearance on the Monza podium.


Image: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after winning the Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images

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'We had problems with the gearboxes at the end'

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Vettel now has 222 points to Alonso's 169, with Lewis Hamilton -- last year's Italian GP winner who finished ninth for Mercedes at the fastest circuit on the calendar -- 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 who flooded the pit straight with their red flags and shirts.

"But you can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red suit," added the German, who had to manage a tyre 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."


Image: Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany kisses his trophy on the podium after winning the Italian F1 Grand Prix on Sunday
Photographs: Max Rossi/Reuters
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'I think we extracted the maximum from the car'

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Vettel took the first victory of his F1 career at Monza for Toro Rosso, an Italian team, and Sunday'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.

"I think we extracted the maximum from the car," added Alonso, who has stood on the Monza podium in all of his four years with Ferrari.


Image: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari celebrates on the podium after finishing second during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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Massa let Alonso through and the latter clipped Red Bull's front wing

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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 that clipped the Red Bull's front wing.

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Sauber with compatriot Nico Rosberg sixth for Mercedes and Australian Daniel Ricciardo seventh for Toro Rosso.


Image: Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain drives ahead of teammate Felipe Massa of Brazil during the Italian F1 Grand Prix on Sunday
Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

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Button took a point for McLaren on their 50th anniversary

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France's Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, with Britain's Jenson Button 10th to take a point for McLaren on a weekend in which the Woking team celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen, who ended a 27-race streak in the points with a retirement in Belgium last month, had a first lap collision and suffered his second successive grand prix without a point after finishing 11th.

Britain's Paul Di Resta retired on the first lap after a collision with Grosjean while Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was the only other retirement for Toro Rosso in a race low on thrills and spills.


Image: Jenson Button, Martin Whitmarsh and Sergio Perez and McLaren teammates pose for a team photograph as they celebrate their 50th year in Formula One during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images
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