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Rosberg Dominates Monza Track!

Rosberg Dominates Monza Track!

Nico Rosberg has produced a dominant drive after grabbing the lead into the first corner to slash Lewis Hamilton's championship advantage to just two points with a first victory in the Italian Grand Prix.

With Hamilton bogging down off the start line from pole position, Rosberg duly swept past with ease to lead into turn one as his Mercedes team-mate slipped back to sixth behind both Ferrari drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.

Despite recovering up to fourth by lap 11 Hamilton had lost 15 seconds to Rosberg but Mercedes' unrivalled performance and strategy – able to run a one-stop compared to the majority of the field using two stops – enabled the defending F1 champion to leapfrog Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen after the second round of pit stops.

Up front Rosberg enjoyed a flawless drive to maintain a comfortable margin and despite Hamilton's best efforts he eventually eased off – sparked by running wide at turn one in the closing stages.

As a result, the German driver eased to a maiden win in Italy to become the first driver to claim victory having not started from pole at Monza since Rubens Barichello in 2009. At the end of the European stretch of the season the Mercedes pair are split by just two points in the drivers standings while Rosberg now has seven wins to Hamilton's six.

Despite being handed an open opportunity for a potential double podium, Ferrari's pace couldn't challenge Mercedes but both Vettel and Raikkonen enjoyed a largely uneventful race behind the Mercedes pair.

Vettel's third place ends his barren rostrum run, the longest of his F1 career since his Toro Rosso days, to give the Tifosi a Ferrari driver to cheer on the podium.

Further back, Daniel Ricciardo got the better of Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages to claim fifth place with a smart late pass up the inside of turn one six laps from the chequered flag. Max Verstappen, who also suffered a dreadful start off the line, recovered to scythe up the field and take seventh place off Force India's Sergio Perez four laps from the end.

At the start of his long goodbye to F1 after announcing his retirement from the sport, Felipe Massa claimed ninth place as Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India took the final points place ahead of Romain Grosjean attempting an alternative strategy with his Haas from 17th on the grid.

Jenson Button provided McLaren's best effort in a largely faultless drive to take 12th ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, a third driver who endured a poor start, with Fernando Alonso dropping off the pace at the end with points out of reach and opting to hunt a fastest lap of the race.

Carlos Sainz was largely powerless to fight any higher than 15th for Toro Rosso but did stay ahead of Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon.

Daniil Kvyat endured more pain in 2016 after retiring with a technical issue, while Pascal Wehrlein in the Manor also pulled out with an engine breakdown, as Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr collided to take each other out of the race in a crash on lap two.