This race was another disaster for Lewis Hamilton, who wanted to finish at all costs after crashing out last time in Italy. He now trails the championship leader Mark Webber by 20 points with just four races left.
When the race restarted on the 36th lap he had passed Webber in Turn Five and, after some side-by-side running through Turn Six, was ahead under braking for Turn Eight, where they made contact, Webber's right front wheel to his left rear.
"To be honest I'm not really sure what happened, he was in my blind spot," Hamilton said. "I'll have to look at the replay. I honestly don't even know what happened.
"I thought I was enough past him, I couldn't see him and turned in and tried to leave enough room on the inside, and the next thing I know I got hit. I think it's a racing incident. I came out a bit unfortunate but that's racing."
From five points behind Webber before Monza Hamilton is now 20 adrift, and added: "I think it's a tough call, there's still four races but I couldn't have expected a worse two races. I'll do what I can but I just hope at least myself or Jenson will do it. Twenty points is massive, a big gap. I have to get my head down and hope for something."
Having scored more points than anyone else in the last five races, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was extremely happy with his narrow victory, and revealed later: "With the safety car problems and also the people we were lapping – there were five cars at the end – it was difficult to lap them, and there was a yellow flag on the straight because of the Lotus on fire, so we couldn't overtake there. It was difficult to manage the gap. So I was taking it very easy, because we knew how difficult it is to overtake here, and I was able to control the gap without taking any risks."
In the end there was nothing that Sebastian Vettel could do, as he finished only two-tenths of a second adrift. "I was hoping he would hit the wall," he grinned, looking across at Alonso, "but he didn't!"
The closest the two got to any contact was at the start, when Alonso chopped across on him. "My move at the start was pretty straightforward, I could see I had a very good start," Vettel said, "but, obviously, Fernando closed the door and went to the inside, so I had nowhere to go. That was that.
"That was the only chance I had, and in the beginning I had to let him go a little bit. At the end of the stint the car was sliding a lot on the soft tyres. I did a little mistake on my pit stop, then I tried to push Fernando into a mistake but he didn't make a major one. It would have been too risky to try anything in the end, and with second place I got some good points. Everything is open."
Webber's race hinged on the tyre gamble he took at the start, and he admitted that initially he wasn't at all convinced about the Red Bull team's strategic thinking.
"I questioned the team a lot to start with, because it was going to be a long stint on the prime tyres, but when we came out queued behind the safety car I realised it was a good situation."
The second safety car also helped Webber, indirectly. "At the restart there were two Virgins ahead of us and I knew that in that situation it's easy to get set-up by the guy behind and for him slipstream by," Webber said. "That's what happened with Lewis. He got a good run on me, and it's a shame we made contact. Lewis had to have a go, and he saw that it was very difficult for me to clear the Virgins, and he had a pretty good run on me. That's the only corner on the track where stuff can happen.
"It's been a pretty difficult weekend here for me, probably my toughest weekend of the year. Monaco was the other way round. Getting out of bed this morning, I would have taken third. So it's going OK."