Sebastian Vettel put his campaign for a fourth consecutive Formula One world championship into high gear by winning Sunday's Italian Grand Prix with a dominating performance.
Vettel started on the pole and gave up the lead only when he pitted just before the halfway point in this 53-lap race. Fernando Alonso from Ferrari took over the top spot after Vettel made his stop, but the Red Bull driver reassumed the position for good when Alonso pitted.
Alonso was attempting to give Ferrari a win in its home race. The team's headquarters are located in Maranello, Italy, which is roughly 125 miles southeast of the Monza circuit.
Vettel beat Alonso to finish line by 5.4 seconds for his sixth win of the season. His 32nd career victory moved him into a tie with Alonso for fourth on the racing circuit's all-time race winners list.
"It was a fantastic race, but you can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red (Ferrari) suit," Vettel said on the podium, as he heard mostly boos from the Italian crowd on hand. "You get a lot of that. Great job by the whole team today. This is usually one of the toughest tracks that we go to, but this year, the car has been absolutely fantastic. The race was incredible for us towards the end. We were struggling with the gearbox , so we had to pace ourselves. It wasn't that bad, because I had a little bit of a cushion."
Vettel has now won the Italian GP three times. In 2008, he became the youngest race winner in F1 history when he took the checkered flag in Italy. Vettel was 21 years old at the time, driving for Toro Rosso. The German also started on the pole and won this event two years ago.
After winning the Italian GP, Vettel has accumulated 222 points for the year. He holds a 53-point advantage over Alonso with seven races to go.
Alonso started fifth but charged up to second within the first couple of laps. It's the fourth straight podium appearance for the Spaniard in the Italian GP.
"Second place is good to have in this podium ceremony that is the most spectacular ceremony of the year for sure," Alonso said. "Hopefully next year, we will come back here and win."
Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, finished third in what was his last grand prix in Italy and in Europe. Webber is leaving Red Bull and F1 at the end of the season. He scored his first podium in this event.
Red Bull had struggled at Monza in the past. Since its F1 debut in 2005, the team has scored only one podium finish in 16 starts here -- Vettel's win in 2011.
Felipe Massa from Ferrari finished fourth, followed by Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg from Mercedes.
Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo placed seventh, while Romain Grosjean from Lotus, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button from McLaren completed the top-10. Hamilton, who won the Italian GP one year ago, struggled in Saturday's qualifying with a 12th-place result.