Sebastian Vettel continued his domination of this season's Formula One with a start to finish victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza Sunday.
Vettel was unstoppable in the Red Bull, easing to his sixth victory this season as Ferrari gave some cheer to the partisan Italian crowd with Fernando Alonso taking second.
"Believe it or not, there was work involved today," Vettel said with a laugh. "The first stint was not without irritations. It started with the start: that was far from being perfect as on lap one I was braking very late to stay in front and immediately got a flat spot on the tyre.
"My hope was that it would not turn into a dramatic situation and that we could stick to our one-stop strategy. And it didn't. After changing to the harder tyres the race became much more relaxed -- especially as the vibrations were gone.
"Thank goodness the speed was there throughout the race -- otherwise the result would probably have been slightly different. My heartbeat went up towards the end of the race when I was told that there was a gearbox issue, so my top priority was to be smooth with the car and carry it past the chequered flag, which meant not looking for lap records."
Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber finished off the podium places, while title contenders Lewis Hamilton of McLaren and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen had disappointing outings, only managing ninth and eleventh respectively.
The German defending champion now has 222 points, and leads the drivers' championship by a cool 53 points from Alonso, with Hamilton and Raikkonen much further behind.
"I think we need to be realistic about the championship now there's a very big gap," Alonso said of the prospects of catching up with Vettel. "We don't have enough races and probably we don't have the speed right now to win some consecutive races and hope to reduce the gap just by pace.
"We need to be lucky and we need to have some DNFs from Sebastian or something to win the championship. With the races left and the points disadvantage, it's hard but in a way, it was exactly the same last year.
"We could only lose the championship, with 41 points advantage in front of Sebastian after the Monza race. It was difficult for him to catch up and so it was maybe up to us. We didn't complete the job and we had a DNF (Did Not Finish) in Suzuka and some other problems.
"There's still a long way to go -- we will try until the last race to be as good as we can and score as many points as possible and then in Brazil we will see how many points we have compared to him."
Results: 1. Vettel; 2. Alonso; 3. Webber; 4. Massa; 5. Hulkenberg; 6. Rosberg; 7. Ricciardo; 8. Grosjean; 9. Hamilton; 10. Button.