Vettel marches on despite jeers from crowd

Sebastian Vettel soaked up the boos on another champagne day when he took a giant step towards winning his fourth consecutive Formula One world title.

Vettel marches on despite jeers from crowd

Sebastian Vettel soaked up the boos on another champagne day when he took a giant step towards winning his fourth consecutive Formula One world title.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described Vettel’s drive en route to taking the chequered flag at the Italian Grand Prix for the third time as “flawless”.

That was with a small exception of a lock up into the first chicane on the opening lap when he flat-spotted his front-right tyre, sparking brief consternation on the pitwall.

Aside from what was a rare error, Vettel coasted to another easy win, as was the case a fortnight ago in Belgium, for his sixth victory in 12 races this season and 32nd overall of his career.

It was no surprise, therefore, when he stepped on to the podium and ahead of being interviewed by the only man to win world titles on two and four wheels, John Surtees, the Ferrari fans rounded on Vettel.

It is the third time this season – Canada and Britain were the other two events - where Vettel has been jeered, suggesting his popularity is waning, the hallmark of a repetitive winner.

Taking it all in his stride, the 26-year-old German said: “You can hear the difference when you don’t win in a red (race) suit.

“You get a lot of that, but it’s very nice because it means you’ve done a very good job and beaten the red guys, so we are very proud of that.

“I said to the guys on the in-lap the more we get booed the better we have done.

“People obviously don’t like the same driver and team on the podium, but we enjoy winning as a team and there were a lot of Red Bull fans as well.

“You can see most people are dressed in red and are here for Ferrari, but there are a few blue caps as well.

“They are difficult to spot, but if you look closely then you see Red Bull caps poking out in all the red, so they should also be happy.”

Horner believes Vettel will only be fuelled by the booing as he said: “Anybody racing a Ferrari and beating a Ferrari at Monza, in Italy, is never going to be cheered.

“It was inevitable there was not going to be a big reaction for Seb beating Fernando in front of the tifosi (Ferrari fans) that have come to cheer their car and team around.

“So the reaction didn’t surprise us. If anything it fuels motivation, certainly of Sebastian, to go out there and continue to improve.”

As for Vettel’s rivals, Fernando Alonso provided Ferrari fans with some cheer as he finished second, but has fallen 53 points adrift in the title race.

On the back of a disappointing display in qualifying for both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, their situation failed to improve in the race.

Hamilton collected a slow puncture at the first corner as a result of Raikkonen running into the back of McLaren’s Sergio Perez.

In a one-stop race, Raikkonen was forced to pit immediately for a new front wing, whilst Hamilton required fresh rubber after 13 laps once his problem became apparent.

Both produced charges through the field, but in needing a second stop, Hamilton could only finish ninth and Raikkonen 11th to leave them 81 and 88 points behind Vettel.

Hamilton’s immediate post-race reaction was to throw in the towel on the title as he said: “Obviously that’s that for the championship.”

Asked if he was sure, the 28-year-old, who drove the whole race without a working radio, added: “I think it would be sensible to say yes.”

But given an hour to reflect and his adrenaline to subside, Hamilton attempted to be positive, although appreciates his circumstances are akin to climbing a mountain.

“When I got out of the car I was angry, and definitely thought that would be it,” said Hamilton.

“But I’m not going to give up. I basically need to win every race, which is the tallest order ever, but I can do nothing but try.”

Vettel and Alonso were joined on the podium by Mark Webber, with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa fourth ahead of Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was 10th and Max Chilton 19th for Marussia, whilst Paul Di Resta crashed out at the first corner in his Force India after running into Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, earning a reprimand from the stewards.

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