Vettel then tangled with world champion and eventual race victor Lewis Hamilton, spinning back to 18th and having to fight through to a damage-limiting fourth - 30 points adrift of the British Mercedes driver with seven races left. Vettel, who claims he had nowhere to go, understeered and clipped the Mercedes of Hamilton, causing the German to spin out and do damage on his Ferrari.
Hamilton's sixth win of the season lifted him to 256 points, to his German rival's 226, with seven races left in what remains a fierce battle between the four-time world champions.
"Unfortunately I was the one that spun around, which was a bit ironic. We got a lot of points so it could be a lot worse today".
Nevertheless, a great win for Hamilton, whether the collision with Vettel was his fault or not.
"Well I think you had more angles than I had but I tried to pass Kimi and then he put on the brakes and then I didn't really have a gap and I didn't want to try something silly", Vettel said.
"Of course, we were hopeful that we might be able to give them a run for their money", Hamilton said. So, when I touched Lewis, I span around and that was unfortunate, as my vehicle got quite some damages. The lead has changed hands five times and their cars have generally been evenly matched but Ferrari have enjoyed a speed advantage since the British Grand Prix and an engine upgrade at the Belgium GP has given them more power than their rivals.
"I think Lewis probably saw his chance around the outside but didn't give me any room and turned in", he said. I think we have the pace. "His auto at that point feels a lot better than mine with nobody in front, and I had nowhere to go". I had an opportunity, and I stuck it down the outside and made sure I was far enough alongside. Racing resumed on lap four as the stewards announced they were taking no action, declaring it a "racing incident".
"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.
"I'm not too anxious", he told reporters after finishing fourth in an Italian Grand Prix won by his Mercedes rival.
"But then what can you do when you get spun around?" We know we have a very strong vehicle, which was clearly demonstrated by the fact we monopolised the front row of the grid.