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Vettel goes unchallenged en route to Italian GP victory

Sep 8, 2013, 9:25 AM EDT


Sebastian Vettel has won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza today in emphatic style, extending his championship lead and putting himself in the box seat to win a fourth consecutive drivers’ title ahead of the Asian leg of the 2013 calendar.

The German driver started from pole position after dominating qualifying on Saturday, and he was rarely challenged en route to his fourth win in the last six races as his championship rivals failed to pose a serious threat during the race. In his final race in Europe, Mark Webber secured his first podium at Monza, capping off a good weekend for Red Bull despite failing to pass second-placed Fernando Alonso during his second stint.

Home favorites Alonso and Felipe Massa both made good starts from fourth and fifth, with the Brazilian driver gaining two positions on the first lap to move up to second behind Sebastian Vettel. Alonso quickly disposed of Nico Hulkenberg (who had started third on the grid), and then pulled off a remarkable move around the outside of Mark Webber at the second chicane to move up to third behind his teammate. Further back, Paul di Resta’s race came to an early end after the Force India driver locked up and made contact with Romain Grosjean heading into turn four, whilst Kimi Raikkonen was forced to pit at the end of the first lap for a new front wing, taking on a fresh set of medium tires.

Predictably, Massa put up very little resistance when Alonso made his move for P2 on lap nine, and the Spanish driver quickly set about catching Vettel. Jenson Button took advantage of the DRS zone on the run-up to the Ascari chicane to pass former teammate Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes driver struggled with his tires as well as a broken radio. He was eventually forced to pit on lap thirteen due to a slow puncture, moving onto a two-stop strategy. Less fortunate was Jean-Eric Vergne, who had to pull over and retire from the race due to a suspected engine failure when running in the points for Toro Rosso. His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, continued to run strongly up in P7, proving to Red Bull why they have chosen him to replace Mark Webber for 2014.

At the first round of pit stops, Button managed to pass teammate Sergio Perez by getting the undercut by one lap, setting his sights on Hamilton once again. Vettel and Webber were able to stop on the same lap thanks to some great work by the Red Bull pit crew, allowing the Australian driver to leapfrog Felipe Massa for P3. New leader Alonso opted to stay out far longer than Vettel, eventually pitting on lap twenty-seven and re-emerging in second place only just ahead of Webber.

Early stoppers Hamilton and Raikkonen both moved up the order well with the Briton easily passing his teammate for P6 before setting his sights on the Sauber of Hulkenberg, eventually making a pass on the inside of Curva Grande. Raikkonen’s second stop allowed him to take on fresh tires and post some very fast lap times, albeit out of the points. At the front, Vettel continued to keep a steady gap to Alonso as the home favorite soaked up the pressure from Webber in P3. Grosjean hoped to salvage some points for Lotus, moving up to P10 with a good move on Sergio Perez into the first chicane.

Webber’s charge in pursuit of Alonso was stunted when he was told to short-shift on the exit of turn two due to a gearbox problem, allowing the Ferrari to pull away. At the back, Caterham continued to enjoy a healthy lead over Marussia, but Giedo van der Garde’s progress was hindered when his team was not ready for his second stop. Both on the soft tire, Raikkonen and Hamilton began to scythe through the field in pursuit of points following their earlier setbacks. However, the Finn was told to stop using DRS as it was flattening the battery, allowing Hamilton to close for P11 before eventually making the move around the outside of Curva Grande with five laps to go. After passing both McLarens, he then tried an ambitious move on Grosjean for P8, but it wasn’t enough come the checkered flag.

Vettel’s dominant performance at Monza today has caused his championship lead to pass the fifty point mark, equivalent to two race wins, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see any of his rivals stopping him from taking a fourth world championship in a row. Ferrari will be pleased to have performed so well on home turf with Massa recording his best result since the Spanish GP in May. Nico Hulkenberg came home in fifth to bring more joy to the troubled Sauber team, finishing ahead of Rosberg, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Hamilton and Button.

  1. Jeff - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Domination and pure excellence. Fantastic win.

  2. Stephanie Stevens - Sep 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Yeah, yeah, yeah I know, if only Sutil hadn’t got in the way, if only Kimi had a better car, if only the good Doktor hadn’t sabotaged Mark again, if only Ferrari had a better car and on and on it will go now. Everything and anything to hype and keep hopes alive for the also rans . Anybody could win in THAT car and on and on and on it will go, anything to negate a guy getting closer by the race of securing a 4th consecutive title not achieved by too many but this time it won’t count because yada, yada, yada .

  3. worknman24hours - Sep 8, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    The truth about this seasons racing is that the Red Bull car is simply better then any other car in the field.

    And also that Sebastien Vettel is getting preferential treatment on the Red Bull team so that Mark Webber is no threat to him at any time.

    Take the two facts together and as Red Bull runs to another easy Formula One World Championship,the fans will be turning off their televisions in record numbers.

    The ‘spectacle’ of one car with one driver simply driving away from the rest of the field in the recognized richest team to ever run a race car in any sport has fans realizing that there are better places to spend their racing viewing time.

    That is the talk on all the Formula One fan sites-“WHY AM I STILL WATCHING THIS SERIES?”

    Vettel’s car’s dominance has placed him in a spot that I thought would never be taken-hated more then the defacto most reviled champion of all time (by those who hated him) Michael Schumacher.

    At least,in the years that Ferrari dominated the sport with Schumacher,there was a very large group of fans who really stood up for Schumacher because the racing was semi close and you could actually see that Schumacher was driving the hell out of his Ferrari race car..

    Today,after the first three laps,if Vettel is making a few tenths a lap every lap,the race is over.

    And very sadly,and the fans see it happening every race this year as well in the last few years,no matter what Mark Webber does,the Red Bull team will find any way they can to make sure Mark can put no pressure at all on Vettel.

    So the Red Bull team will no doubt cruise to a very easy 2013 F1 WDC/WCC but the real winner this year will be Mark Webber as he steps away,unbowed,with every Formula One fan knowing he could have been a World Champion in every year Vettel won one had the team not been a bunch of little girlies and bowed to make Vettel’s runs as easy as they could make them.

    F1 this year is easy to watch-see the first three laps and turn off the television.

    My hats off to Red Bulls money-they should call this the Formula Red Bull Racing Series.

  4. oldtabby - Sep 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Boring!! Totally agree with your comments worknman. I’m not saying Seb isn’t a good driver but I think he has a huge advantage with his car. I’d like to see him in the Ferrari or Maclaren or even the Mercedes, he might still win but I bet he’d have to actually drive for it, it wouldn’t be a boring runaway!

  5. worknman24hours - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Thirty one wins in the same car with the same team do not a Formula One legend make.

    That means -THE CAR IS THE STAR.

  6. purplesectornet - Sep 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    The star of the weekend was Mario Andretti…make no mistake sir you are a GIANT. Bravo!

  7. bikingscr016 - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Nobody wants to read your novel you just wrote worknman.

    Here’s my comment: Vettel good, bad pit decision by Ferrari for Alonso, I’m sad about Hamilton’s weekend.

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