It had been a close-run thing, but once he managed to head off team mate Mark Webber in the run down to turn 1 at the start of the Italian Grand Prix it seemed that nothing - not even gearbox glitches that started to affect both Red Bulls in the second half of the race - was going to ruin Sebastian Vettel's day in Monza.

"It's fantastic to win this event again," he said afterwards. "The race was terrific for both of us, we had problems with the gearboxes at the end, but I was okay because I had a good cushion and it was a fantastic win."

"A fantastic way to achieve our 40th victory and Sebastian's 32nd," agreed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. "To win and finish third in Monza, which is one of the most historic events, is testimony to our strong team work today."

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But Vettel admitted that it could have gone very differently if he hadn't managed to hold his lead through the first chicane.

"I just managed to make turn one! I locked the front right and it just didn't seem to come back," he said. "I had a big flat spot, which I felt straight away and I wasn't sure if the tyre would survive, but fortunately I managed to make it round and have a strong first stint.

"I pushed straight away to get a bit of a gap, in case we had to stop early and change to a two-stop strategy" he added. "[Then] we had a gearbox issue and I had to short shift, which meant we dropped some time in the straights - but I tried to make it up in the corners.

Although it's another not-so-small step toward a fourth consecutive world title for the young German, Vettel insisted he wasn't getting ahead of himself and that a couple of DNFs could till turn the season on its head.

"It's great to finish on the top step," he said. "The season is going well and we're pushing hard, but we take each race as it comes. We're looking forward to Singapore next, which I want to finish - I think it's the toughest race we have all year."

The only thing that did rather mar the Monza experience was the chorus of boos that greeted Vettel when he made his post-race appearance on the top step of the podium at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

"You can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red suit," he said, referring to the passionate home support of the Tifosi for the Ferrari drivers. "But it means you have done well and beaten the red men but it was a great team effort today.

"The podium here is always very passionate," he pointed out. "We are in Italy and when you walk around outside the track, you see Ferrari clothing and merchandise in all the shops starting from the smallest sizes upwards; it's part of their DNA, which I understand.

"It was great for the Tifosi to have Fernando on the podium today," he added.