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2013-09-08 18:17

RED BULLS RAMPANT: Great day at Monza 2013 for the Red Bull team of Mark Webber (left) in his final GP there and race winner Sebastian Vettel. Webber was third. Image: AFP


Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in the F1 Drivers’ title to more than 50 points and Lewis Hamilton raced his heart out in the 2013 Italian GP at Monza - and at the end the Italian crowd was, well, kinda rude...

MONZA, Italy - Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in the Formula 1 Drivers’ championship to more than 50 points but was booed by the mainly Italian crowd despite a polished victory for Red Bull in Sunday's 2013 Italian GP.

Race report

The 26-year-old German, series leader and defending triple champion, survived a torrid start and gearbox problems to dominate an intriguing 53-lap race. He came home 5.4sec clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso after thrilling the locals with a battling chase 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, equalling Alonso's total. It was also Vettel's third win at Monza -- and greeted by loud booing from the tifosi who flooded across the circuit during a dramatic podium ceremony.

Vettel, who had his first GP win for Italian-owned Toro Rosso team in the rain-hit 2008 race, said afterwards: "It was a fantastic race but you can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red suit but it 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 our gearboxes at the end but 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.


Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said on the team radio: “Fantastic Seb! You've won the Italian GP again - a brilliant drive..." Vettel replied with his usual scream but added: "Very good boys, very good race. Sorry for the lock-up into the first corner, made the first stint a bit tricky."

Horner added: "The races we are meant to be weak at, we keep winning. It has been a fantastic weekend - to win at an historic track like Monza is amazing." Vettel leads with 222 points ahead of Alonso on 169 and Hamilton on 141 in the title race with seven races in Asia and the Americas remaining.

German Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified a stunning third in his Ferrari-powered Sauber, came home an excellent fifth to endorse his claims as a possible successor to Massa in 2014. "I can't say I am not interested in this - it's a no-brainer ... we just have to wait and see what decision is taken.”

Compatriot Nico Rosberg was sixth in the leading Mercedes ahead of Red Bull-bound Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus. Hamilton did his utmost to pass Grosjean on the final and immediately preceding laps but had to settle for ninth ahead of Briton Jenson Button of McLaren, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary as an F1 team.


Hamilton, who had reeled off four consecutive pole starts to mount a title challenge before coming to Italy, admitted: "It was a nightmare weekend for me. It's a real shame but these kinds of things happen. It’s been a good year; we're just going to keep pushing."

Alonso, who took photos of the crowd from the podium (as well, perhaps vainly, as his face with the crowd in the background, if you watch closely) said: "Second place is good and to have this podium ceremony which is the most spectacular podium of the year. I hope we'll come back in 2014 and have first place."

Webber, collecting his first trophy from an Italian race but in his F1 retirement year, said: "It was a good battle with Alonso but a great team result."
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