Vettel says he's still in it after Monza setback

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Championship leader Lewis Hamilton delivered one of his greatest races Sunday when he wrecked Ferrari's homecoming party as he stormed to a record-equalling fifth Monza victory in his Mercedes at the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton had a collision with Sebastian Vettel in the very first lap which has split opinion whether to who is to blame, and the Brit conceded that it was definitely the turning point of the race.

The tow, coupled with a scruffy final lap by Vettel, provided Raikkonen with enough speed to edge out Ferrari's number one championship contender by 0.161 seconds, and Hamilton by 0.175 sec.

The win meant Hamilton extended his lead over Vettel in the driver standings to 30 points with seven races remaining. Unfortunately I was the one that spun around which is a bit ironic but was that way.

By lap 11, Vettel was up into the points, and he would get as high as fourth before he would stop for a second time.

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Raikkonen is Vettel's rear-gunner at Ferrari, 85 points behind Hamilton, and out of the title race. But then he didn't leave me any space and I had no other chance than run into him and make contact.

Bottas said: "I was really trying to do everything I can to get to the podium - as a team, we take this result".

"It wasn't a disaster but for sure not what I want or what we want".

After calling into the pits, Vettel fought back through the field to finish fourth, partly thanks to Max Verstappen of Red Bull taking a five-second time penalty for a brush with Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

"I was surprised when I got out", said Vettel.

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Both drivers complained on team radio but an investigation decided that no further action was necessary. "His vehicle at that point feels a lot better than mine with nobody in front, and I had nowhere to go".

The victor was also helped considerably by team mate Valtteri Bottas who led after Hamilton pitted and managed to hold up Raikkonen long enough for the other Mercedes to close the gap.

Vettel said the clash was a result of a sequence of events starting with the first corner and implied that his spin was partly caused by the fact he had Raikkonen in front of him, which would cost him some grip.

"We are very fortunate to have capitalised on the different situations". I am guessing he locked up, we touched, it was a brief moment, damaged the auto a little bit but I could continue.

"In future, the negativity is really a positive thing for me because I harness it and turn it from negative to positive", added the 33-year-old, who also paid tribute to his fans for holding firm. And then you get back up and you start from the back and you have to come through. We know we have a very strong auto, which was clearly demonstrated by the fact we monopolised the front row of the grid.

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