Red Bull scored a ‘phenomenal’ victory at the Italian Grand Prix today but whilst Sebastian Vettel was celebrating on the top step of the Monza podium Mark Webber was left to get over the disappointment of the team’s first retirement since Korea last season.
The only moment that Vettel did not look assured of victory this afternoon was right at the beginning of race, when he was overtaken by a fast- starting Fernando Alonso. However, he quickly overtook the Spaniard with a brave overtaking move and from that point onwards never looked back.
“It was an emotional win today,” said Vettel, who now has a 112 point lead in the drivers’ championship and could win his second title at the next race in Singapore.
“This circuit means such a lot to me and is very special. I had my first win here, so when I crossed the line I remembered every single bit of it. The podium is absolutely unbelievable here; when you stand up there you feel blessed, as it doesn't happen to many people. There are so many people underneath and you can see them all coming, even from Curva Grande – it's just unbelievable.
“This circuit has been tough for us for the last two years and soâ€¦ to come back this year and win! The car was amazing in qualifying yesterday and in the race today it was even better.
“The start was not that good, Fernando was suddenly there and I didn't know where he was coming from – it took me a while to see we were three going into Turn 1. I kept second place and then after the restart, I was able to pass Alonso. He didn't give me much room there, but it was just enough, so it was very enjoyable.
“It was a great race for us. As it's 150 years for Italian Unity also, I think it makes it special for every one here, so thank you to all the fans.”
Webber, like his team-mate, also suffered from a bad start, but it was an accident when trying to overtake Felipe Massa that led to his retirement.
“I didn’t get the best start, me and Jenson were together, so I lost a few spots there,” recalls the Australian. “I think also Sebastian didn't either, so there were a few different starts going on. Fernando made a phenomenal one.
“Then there was the restart after the safety car; I got a good one that time and managed to pass Jenson straight away. Then, on the next lap, I was lining up Felipe, breaking around the outside for turn 1, trying to get the inside line for turn two. I probably wasn’t quite far enough to get completely inside, but when I tried to come out of the move the kerbing on the inside is obviously pretty high; as soon as I touched that I unfortunately made contact with Felipe and that was that.
“I then tried to get back to the pits, trying to lose the minimum time possible, the car wasn’t too bad for the first part of the lap, but at some stage the wing got caught underneath, so I couldn't turn the car or brake. I went straight out of Parabolica and that was the end of my race.”
Team principal Christian Horner did not let Webber’s retirement dampen the celebrations of Vettel’s victory. He instead dedicated the team’s win to a colleague Erin Pezzella, who lost a battle against cancer earlier this week.
“A phemonenal race today,” said Horner in summary. “To win in Monza is a dream come true and it was a really dominant performance by Sebastian today. We had great pit work, strong strategy and Seb made a really brave overtaking move to retake the lead from Fernando after the safety car. Thereafter it was a very controlled and well executed race.
“Unfortunately Mark's race came to a premature end after contact with Felipe Massa. The front wing was tucked under the car on the approach to Parabolica, when Mark was trying to get back to the pits as quickly as possible. It prevented him from being on the podium today, but I'm sure he will bounce back in Singapore. It was a great day for the team and a phenomenal result at a circuit which, on paper, wasn't our best.
“Very sadly, we lost a team member earlier in the week, Erin Pezzella, a young lady who has been with the team for four years. She lost a very brave fight against cancer and we would like to dedicate this result in her memory today.”