Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championship titles.
‘SIX! SIX! SIX!’, the Mercedes driver shouted in German. “It’s my sixth here in Monza, I’m really delighted. Another win. This circuit is an absolute special race for me.”
After falling behind Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings at the start of the season, it looked like Hamilton’s hopes of completing the career Grand Prix double had been dashed.
He drew level with the German, the hero of the 2006 Valencia victory which gave the British driver his first title, by completing a third successive victory, following wins in Monaco and Belgium.
But this was one to savor.
With Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari by his side and an aggressive home crowd behind them, he had initially led from start to finish, before Vettel passed him after the restart.
In the space of 30 laps, they swapped victories on the fourth successive different day, and four was the number of championships in the future for Mercedes for the fourth year in a row.
The victory also ensured Hamilton moved ahead of Vettel into second place on the all-time list of race winners. In history, only Alberto Ascari has won more in one season.
A home victory now seems guaranteed and after 15 appearances, it could be his final one. The 35-year-old with friends and family in the crowd is eligible to retire at the end of the season.
There was nothing wrong with the performance of the Mercedes although there was no stopping Vettel.
The five-time champion started the race on pole and it wasn’t long before he had a lead. But there was a little drama as Vettel hit the wall after a collision with teammate Raikkonen.
Vettel hit the outside wall with Raikkonen in front, and the car was written off. But he had a damaged engine and although the race was delayed for 30 minutes, he drove it to the next corner to retake the lead.
Hamilton was left behind, but it was little more than three laps to the chequered flag as Hamilton’s challenge for an unprecedented seventh world title got a temporary boost when Raikkonen hit the wall and Hamilton passed him with a brilliant fast pit stop.
Earlier, Hamilton had claimed a tenth of a second lead over Vettel over the weekend, and that was reduced to just under a second as the action got under way.
Vettel had the advantage on the opening stint, ahead of Raikkonen, although only on the first lap. When Vettel pitted from pole position on lap five it was the Mercedes which had the advantage for some time.
Alonso’s McLaren disappeared just after the first corner after an early collision with Fernando Alonso’s McLaren. Fernando had to slow down.
The Spaniard made a couple of quick stops to improve the condition of his car and it paid off, and he held on to win the San Marino Grand Prix.