Monza, Italy. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel moved within sight of retaining his title with ease on Sunday when he drove to a comprehensive victory at a crash-hit and thrilling Italian Grand Prix.
As the 24-year-old German steered his Red Bull car clear of the field, his nearest title rival and teammate Mark Webber crashed out, leaving the dazzling Vettel to open a luxurious lead with six races remaining.
“We blew them away. Thank you, boys,” Vettel said on the team radio on his victory lap.
Briton Jenson Button finished second in the leading McLaren, the Englishman taking full advantage of a battle between his teammate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher of Mercedes to finish on the podium after a typically well-judged drive.
Local hero Fernando Alonso fought to hang on for a rousing third place for Ferrari, to the delight of the fans who invaded the circuit at the finish to cheer their famous team’s colors on the elevated podium. Alonso is now second in the title chase.
Hamilton, bothered by Schumacher and ultimately frustrated also by Alonso in the closing laps, came home fourth, just a few meters behind Alonso with Schumacher, a five-time winner at Monza, finishing fifth for Mercedes thanks to another performance that stirred memories of his halcyon days as the sport’s supreme champion.
Felipe Massa finished sixth in the second Ferrari, Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari was seventh for Toro Rosso and Briton Paul Di Resta eighth for Force India. Brazilian Bruno Senna finished ninth in his second race for Renault.
Vettel, who started from the pole, moved to 284 points, a massive 112 clear of Alonso. Button had 167 after the last race in Europe ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept. 25.