Vettel takes commanding Monza win
8 September 2013 – Sebastian Vettel further increased his championship lead by claiming a dominant Italian Grand Prix victory on Sunday afternoon. The Red Bull driver, who started from pole position, led home Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 5.4 seconds, while team-mate Mark Webber fended off Felipe Massa for the final podium spot.
Although rain showers had fallen prior to the race, they were not heavy enough to warrant the use of Pirelli’s wet compounds, with the lights going out amid bone-dry conditions. Vettel narrowly retained his lead on the run to the first corner, despite locking up heavily under braking. Meanwhile, Massa and Alonso bolted off the line, ending the first lap in second and fourth positions and sandwiching Webber.
There were nerves on the Red Bull pit wall in the early stages, with Vettel warned of an issue on the right-front of his car. Most likely related to the state of his tyres after a less-than-ideal Turn 1 entry, the German kept the situation under control until pitting on Lap 24. His lead was then solidified when Alonso opted to stay out four laps longer, losing time on ageing tyres and re-joining some ten seconds adrift.
Although the top two positions remained unchanged, Webber was able to make up for some lost ground in the opening pit-stop phase, leapfrogging Massa after another slick performance from the Red Bull crew. The Australian later set about reeling in Alonso, on various occasions looking set to make a move in the DRS window. But he ultimately had to settle for third, being told by his team to short shift in the closing laps.
There were also gearbox warning issues to Vettel, but nothing could halt his approach to a sixth triumph of the season. Alonso crossed the line just over five seconds in arrears, although in reality the performance gap was far greater, the Spaniard only closing due to the winner nursing his machinery.
Despite his best efforts, Massa could not join team-mate Alonso on the podium, with Webber doing just enough to seal the position. Qualifying star Nico Hülkenberg edged out Nico Rosberg for a well-deserved fifth place, while a distant Daniel Ricciardo scored enough points to move clear of Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne, who retired in the early stages.
Romain Grosjean took eighth ahead of a rampant Lewis Hamilton, the latter pulling off a series of brilliant passes throughout the race. Jenson Button scored the final point, denying Kimi Räikkönen who was forced into an early front wing change.
Paul di Resta retired after running into the back of Grosjean's Lotus at the Roggia chicane on the opening lap, an incident that has been referred to the stewards.
In the championship standings, Vettel now leads Alonso by 53 points as he bids to notch up a fourth consecutive title, with Hamilton a further 28 points back in third.
Post-race feelings from winner Sebastian Vettel
The 13th round of the season takes place in Singapore from September 20-22, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report