Rosberg wins Italian Grand Prix after Hamilton slips at start

Nico Rosberg capitalized on a starting error from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win the Italian Grand Prix Sunday and close the gap in the world title chase to two points.

Hamilton was on pole but a disastrous start saw him drop to sixth as Rosberg, from second, the Ferrari's of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas in Williams and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo all flew past him.

Rosberg could then control the race from the front and claimed his first win at Monza, and 21st overall, in 1 hour 17 minutes 28.089 seconds. Hamilton recovered to second, 15.070 seconds behind, but could not chase the victory while third went to Vettel in Ferrari's home grand prix.

World champion Hamilton now leads the standings on 250 points with Rosberg on 248 ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix on September 18.

"It is a very special day for me, I'm very happy to finally win here," Rosberg said. "It was all down to the start, I had an awesome start and it was all from there.

"I feel a part of me is Italian because I have a lot of friends and grew up with the culture so it's special."

Hamilton was looking to match Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio with three triumphs in a row having matched Fangio and Ayrton Senna with a record five Monza poles with a dominant performance in Saturday qualifying.

But on race day it all went wrong at the start, with what he admitted on team radio was his own error, and he soon found himself playing catch-up in search of his 50th career win.

"The start wasn't great but it was still a great day for Mercedes and I'm proud to be a part of it," Hamilton said.

Rosberg took full advantage and, after the hectic dash to the opening turn, used the superior power of his Mercedes to open up a gap of more than six seconds to Vettel.

Both Ferraris had started on super-soft tyres and stayed with the red rubber when they pitted on laps 16 and 17 respectively. Rosberg and Hamilton, who started on softs, changed to mediums on laps 25 and 26 with the intention of seeing out the race on a one-stop strategy.

Rosberg maintained his led over Vettel at more than four seconds when the German driver pitted again on lap 34 to emerge with softs and Raikkonen followed his team-mate a lap later.

That left Rosberg leading Hamilton by around 11 seconds, a margin which the Brit managed to close but only very gradually until he made a chicane error on lap 41.

That was not enough to open the door to Vettel in third but ensured there would be no miraculous comeback and Rosberg could coast home to his second successive victory and seventh of the campaign.

"This is the best podium in the world," Vettel told the Ferrari fans who cheered him at the award ceremony after some boos rang out for the Mercedes pair.

"We are working very hard, Mercedes do a very good job so you have to say well done and show them respect. I'm sure Ferrari will come back and keep fighting. We will succeed."

Behind the podium places Raikkonen was fourth, Ricciardo fifth and Bottas sixth. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Sergio Perez (Force India), Felipe Massa (Williams) and Nico Huelkenberg (Force India) completed the top 10.

Romain Grosjean's Haas finished just out of the points in 11th while Jenson Button, the day after it was announced he would not drive for McLaren in 2017, was 12th, one ahead of Esteban Gutierrez in the other Haas.

Fernando Alonso was 14th with McLaren, though did claim the fastest lap with a late display of pace, while Carlo Sainz (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Renault) and Esteban Ocon (Manor) were the other finishers.

Manor's Pascal Wehrlein, who started 13th after brilliant qualifying, saw his race ended with smoke coming from his car on lap 28. Felipe Nasr's Sauber and Joylon Palmer in a Renault retired early after their vehicles were damaged in an early collision, and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat stopped late on.

Last update: Sun, 04/09/2016 - 17:03

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