Lewis Hamilton survived an opening lap clash with championship rival Sebastian Vettel to go on to defeat the remaining Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to claim the Italian Grand Prix.
The win for Hamilton and Mercedes was a blow to Ferrari, which on home turf had gone into the Monza race with a pace advantage and a front row grid lockout.
Raikkonen led off pole but behind him Hamilton and Vettel clashed on the opening lap, resulting in a spin for the latter. Both drivers blamed the other for not leaving sufficient racing room; officials decided that no action should be taken.
Raikkonen managed to defend an attack from Hamilton during the pitstop phase but in doing so the Finn damaged his rear tyres. Then Mercedes opted to prolong Valtteri Bottas’ first stint, in a tactic designed to hold up Raikkonen and allow Hamilton to close the gap. Raikkonen caught Bottas who then vigorously defended for several laps before finally pitting.
From there Raikkonen, nursing a blistered rear tyre, was vulnerable to attack. Hamilton eventually slipstreamed past the Ferrari and was never challenged from there.
With Bottas’ race effectively sacrificed in the Mercedes pincer-move strategy, the Finn looked set for a fourth place finish but was elevated to third after Max Verstappen was given a five-second penalty for pushing Bottas wide in the braking area for the first chicane.
Verstappen protested his innocence, and opted to obstinately defend third on the road from Bottas. But in doing so the Red Bull driver cost himself enough time so that with the addition of the five-second penalty he was beaten to fourth by the recovering Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo had a race to forget, retiring with mechanical issues after having started near the rear due to grid position penalties for component changes.
The result sees Hamilton extend his championship points lead over Vettel to 20, with seven grands prix left to run in the 2018 season.