Monza masterclass from Vettel

Vettel wins at Monza
Vettel wins at Monza

Sebastian Vettel took his sixth victory of the season and made it look easy as he dominated the whole weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.

The three-time world champion looks set to retain his title again this year as he proved untouchable at the historic circuit for the third time in his career.

From the first free practice on Friday, Vettel looked at his imperious best, topping the time sheets in two of the three sessions before landing pole position ahead of team-mate Mark Webber on Saturday.

And when the lights turned out, no-one even got close to him. Despite a big lock up into the first chicane to keep Webber from overtaking, his race was fairly uneventful out in front.

Webber meanwhile, who enjoyed his best qualifying performance since the season’s opener in Australia, slid down to third place at the start behind the fast starting Felipe Massa, and then to fourth as Fernando Alonso in the other Ferrari went by in the early stages.

Vettel’s heavily worn front right tyre, damaged in the first lap lock-up, caused him to pit earlier than his rivals, though his commanding lead meant when the others made their scheduled stops, he was still a way in front of the pack.

Both Alonso and Webber made their way passed Massa to take up the final two podium places.

The pair were separated by less than a second for much of the race after that, but Webber couldn’t get close enough to make a move on the home crowd favourite.

Both Red Bulls were warned of a potential failure in the gearboxes of the RB9, though the pair were able to nurse their cars home safely, with Vettel taking the win and Webber following in third.

“It’s fantastic to win this event again,” Vettel said. “I only just managed to make turn one! I locked the front right and it just didn’t seem to come back.

“I had a big flat spot, which I felt straight away and I wasn’t sure if the tyre would survive, but fortunately I managed to make it round and have a strong first stint.

“It’s great to finish on the top step. The podium here is always very passionate.

“The season is going well and we’re pushing hard, but we take each race as it comes.”

Webber added: “I had a good battle with Fernando, fair play to him on that and then afterwards I settled in to getting my head down and getting on with the race.

“We had to nurse the gearbox a bit at the end, but overall it was a good result.”

Vettel continues to lead the way in the championship standings now by 53 points from Alonso. Webber is fifth but just four points behind fourth placed Kimi Raikkonen. Red Bull lead the constructors title race by 104 points from Ferrari.