Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton passes Kimi Raikkonen to win thriller, Vettel fourth

Marcus Ericsson's Sauber has huge crash in Italian GP second practice

After Sebastian Vettel cut his World Drivers' Championship arrears back to 17 points, the German will be eyeing back-to-back Formula 1 one wins for the first time since the opening two races of the season.

That is more than a clear win, with seven races and a total of 175 points remaining in the season.

"But we did plenty of laps this afternoon in the dry and we could see that, like in Spa, we had a small gap to Ferrari on both the short and the long runs".

Vettel dropped to the back and had to pit as he damaged his front wing in the contact as well, but was handed a silver lining thanks to a safety vehicle. Vettel opened his radio channel to immediately complain about the incident, but by Lap 6 the stewards had already confirmed there would be no further action taken.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who is using an upgraded Renault engine, was fifth and sixth but is set to take penalties that will send him towards the back of the field on Sunday.

"I think it was 100 per cent Sebastian's fault", Rosberg said on Sky Sports commentary.

"I would hope we have innovations on the auto and on the engine", Wolff continued.

"In future, negativity is only an inspiration for me".

"If you are dressed in the right colour - which I am - then I think Monza is always an absolute highlight", added Vettel.

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That left the race as a battle between Raikkonen and Hamilton, and they fought tooth and nail throughout.

Bottas is now 87 points behind Hamilton in the standings with eight races to go - and potentially 200 points still available.

Mercedes than had to bring strategy into play. Raikkonen nursed his auto home to second, with Verstappen crossing the line third before a five-second time penalty dropped him behind Bottas and Vettel in the final classification. "Since then, Ferrari have been quicker".

As Q2 began, Hamilton took the initiative with a flier in 1:19.798 before Vettel did 1:19.785, an advantage of just 0.013 seconds.

"What we want to do is beat them, so we need to be better than them, and that is what we need to focus on".

Other drivers: Valtteri Bottas claimed a maiden win in Russian Federation previous year, while Kimi Raikkonen has podiumed in the last two races.

Bottas eventually stopped for tyres to release Raikkonen.

And yet, check out this headline, attributed to Lewis Hamilton, over an online story by the Reuters news agency: "We've got to improve to try and catch Ferrari".

They could go into the first chicane in any order. However, Raikkonen was unable to shake off the Briton's attentions, and so Mercedes opted for a different strategy to attack later in the race. "You knocked that out of the park today".

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