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Sebastian Vettel breaks Ferrari hearts at Monza to win sixth race of the season

updated 12:04 PM EDT, Sun September 8, 2013
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his sixth victory of the 2013 season to extend his lead in the title race to 53 points over Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his sixth victory of the 2013 season to extend his lead in the title race to 53 points over Fernando Alonso.
  • Sebastian Vettel wins Italian Grand Prix at Monza
  • Sixth win of season for three-time defending champion
  • Fernando Alonso finishes second for Ferrari
  • Mark Webber joins Red Bull teammate Vettel on the podium

(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel dashed Fernando Alonso's hopes of delivering a home victory for Ferrari at Monza with another commanding drive to win the Italian Grand Prix Sunday.

The three-time defending champion secured his sixth win of the season after starting on pole position, relegating Spain's Alonso to second place.

Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber finished third ahead of the second Ferrari of Brazilian Felipe Massa.

The victory extended Vettel's advantage in the world title race over Alonso to 53 points with seven rounds remaining.

Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to start from 12th after a poor qualifying session Saturday, could only manage ninth spot, but remained in third place in the standings, 81 points adrift.

Read: Vettel's caution despite practice dominance

It was a fantastic race, but you can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red suit
Sebastian Vettel

Vettel's only significant problem was self imposed as he flat spotted his front right tire after breaking too sharply into the first corner of the race.

Under pressure from Massa, the 26-year-old German was desperate to hold on to his lead after the traditional flat out start at Monza.

Two time champion Alonso, back in fifth on the grid after his difficulties in qualifying, quickly worked his way up to third before Massa gave way to him under team orders.

Vettel was able to nurse his tires until the first and only round of pit stops for the leading contenders without coming under serious challenge.

Alonso was briefly challenged by Webber until the Australian was ordered to back off because of gear selection problems, which were also problematic for the leader Vettel.

Read: Alonso shows Ferrari frustrations

But he took the checkered flag 5.4 seconds clear of Alonso to take an even firmer grip on the championship he has dominated for the past four seasons.

Vettel was only too aware that his victory was unlikely to be welcomed by the tifosi diehards who had flocked to the circuit in northern Italy to support their beloved Ferrari.

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"It was a fantastic race, but you can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red suit," Vettel said.

"But this means you have done well and beaten the red men!

"The race was terrific for both of us as we had problems with the gearboxes at the end, but I was ok because I had a good cushion. It is a fantastic win."

Alonso acknowledged there was little he could do to prevent the 32nd victory of Vettel's career.

"Second place is good and to have this podium ceremony which is the most spectacular podium of the year," he said.

"Hopefully we'll come back next year and have first place. Every time I am here this podium and this experience is more and more special."

Read: Di Resta reveals Ferrari dream

Outside the front runners, Germany's Nico Hulkenberg underlined his reputation as one of the most promising young drivers on the grid with an excellent fifth place in the uncompetitive Sauber.

His compatriot Nico Rosberg finished sixth for Mercedes ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso, who will replace Webber at Red Bull next season.

Romain Grosjean of Lotus held off the fast-charging Hamilton for eighth, while Britain's Jenson Button earned a single point for McLaren, who were celebrating their 50th anniversary as an F1 team.

Hamilton, who had to contend with a slow puncture which meant an extra pit stop, conceded his title hopes were over.

"It's awful when you are just empty of energy and have given everything for just two points -- and that's it for the championship now," he told BBC Sport.

The F1 circuit will now depart Europe for the next round under the lights on the spectacular street circuit in Singapore with Vettel in prime position for a fourth straight title.

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