Sebastian Vettel shrugs off Tifosi booing after dominant Italian Grand Prix victory
Race winner drowned out by boos on Monza podium
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 09/09/13 10:12am
The Red Bull driver was roundly heckled as he stood on the podium at Monza after defeating Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, with the Tifosio making their displeasure at the result - and perhaps their dislike of the German - abundantly clear.
Such was the level of derision voiced by the Monza crowd that the podium ceremony was briefly delayed before Vettel sought to put a positive spin on an experience that has become all-too familiar. Vettel was also booed on the podium at at Silverstone and Montreal earlier in the year.
"You can hear the difference, obviously, when you don't win here in a red suit - you get a lot of that," the reigning World Champion said in response to the heckling. "It's very nice because you mean you have done very well and beat the red guys.
"The more booing the better. I said on the radio on the in lap that the more booing we get, the better we have done."
Despite cruising to the chequered flag with a ten-second advantage over Alonso and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, the booing wasn't Vettel's only uncomfortable moment after a leery lock-up into the first corner. The result, in the words of team boss Christian Horner, were vibrations "rattling his eyeballs out" until the German was able to pit on lap 24 for a new set of Pirellis.
The three-times World Champion now heads the standings by 53 points and a fourth successive title looks to be a racing certainty.
"It was a big, big lock-up," declared Horner. "We could see from the data on the radio that it was big and we were just trying to get to a target lap. He managed it really well and make it work. The second-half of the race was a little more comfortable."
Perhaps too comfortable. While Vettel's popularity amongst the public at large plummeted after the 'multi-21' scandal of Malaysia, the booing is arguably as much a protest against his current dominance of the sport as it is personal. In any case, Horner is convinced that his driver is feeding off what amounts to something of a back-handed compliment.
"He has been fantastically fast all weekend and, but for the lock-up at the start, absolutely faultless. It [the booing] fuels him. In Italy, in Ferrari land, and Sebastian will feed off it. That's the strength of his character, it doesn't get to him."
Given that there appears to be no quenching Vettel's thirst for success, F1 is unlikely to have heard the last of its new soundtrack.