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.
Aged 38 years and 320 days, Raikkonen is the oldest pole sitter at an F1 race since 41-year-old Nigel Mansell started from the front in Australia 24 years ago.
Lewis Hamilton feels Scuderia Ferrari are again the team to beat this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with the Briton ending third fastest behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen in the only dry session of Friday.
After the race Vettel, who finished fourth, still felt Hamilton was in the wrong. "I left him space". "I actually accept it", Hamilton, booed on the podium by the crowd flooding the main straight with their flares and flags, said.
Vettel had to pit for a new front wing and then fought through to fifth on the road, before gaining another place via a penalty for Max Verstappen. "I tried, but it was impossible".
'Lewis didn't leave me any space and I had no choice but to run into him and make contact, ' said the German.
"It was unfortunate for us to get spun around and have a lot of damage but it could have been also him that spins around and us carrying on".
The incident was investigated, but the stewards took no action, ruling "neither driver was wholly or predominantly at fault".
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. 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.
"To know that I am up there with Michael is always a real privilege".
"But in Budapest I think it was a bit different, that really compromised my race big time".
A disappointed Raikkonen said: "I was quick enough, but unfortunately our rear tyres went and it was a losing battle from that point". And then you get back up and you start from the back and you have to come through. The close competition is great for the sport, and it is pushing us to limits that we didn't even know we could go to.