Nico Rosberg Wins Italian Grand Prix to Cut Lewis Hamilton's Lead
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg celebrates winning the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza. (Getty Images)
Monza: Nico Rosberg pounced on a poor start by his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix and cut his championship lead to just two points.
The 31-year-old German took the lead at the start, when pole-sitter Hamilton became bogged down, and pulled away to control the race with calm aplomb and finish 15 seconds clear of the defending three-time champion.
Hamilton, who effectively lost the race in the first 20 metres when the lights went out, now leads the title race with 250 points ahead of Rosberg on 248.
Sebastian Vettel came home third, 5.9 seconds further adrift, ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to the delight of the home fans.
It was Rosberg's first Italian win, his seventh of the season and 21st of his career, boosting his championship challenge with seven races remaining.
"Thank you very much guys," said Rosberg. "It’s great to win Italy."
It was also the 50th podium finish of Rosberg's career and prevented Hamilton completing a cherished hat-trick of Italian wins, to equal a feat achieved only once before by Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950's, and register his 50th career victory.
It was the first time in seven years that the race was not won by the driver starting from pole position.
Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth for Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen who was seventh in the second Red Bull, Sergio Perez of Force India, retirement-bound Felipe Massa in the second Williams and German Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India.