Nico Rosberg scored a comfortable Italian Grand Prix victory for Mercedes as his team-mate and challenger suffered a bad start but recovered to finish second.
This was an easy, Sunday afternoon drive for Rosberg. Benefitted from a slow start from Lewis Hamilton, who qualified on pole and bang in the lap times consistently to stay ahead of the pack. In the end, recorded his first victory at Monza.
Mercedes recorded their fourth one-two of the season in the process. Win number of seven for Rosberg in 2016 and his 21st of his Formula 1 career. This result means Nico is just two points behind Lewis in the drivers’ championship with seven races remaining.
Sebastian Vettel gave the Tifosi something to cheer about by finishing third, 20.9 secondss adrift, with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
While Hamilton was swallowed up by the pack and dropped to sixth at the start, Rosberg held off a challenge from Vettel to take the lead into Turn 1.
The Mercedes driver set a series of fastest laps to build a gap as Vettel and Raikkonen struggled to keep pace.
Hamilton, meanwhile, passed Daniel Ricciardo through Curve Grande to move into fifth and then got a good run out of Parabolica to slingshot past Valtteri Bottas for fourth.
The reigning world champion inherited second when the Ferraris pitted for fresh sets of super-soft tyres.
Hamilton began closing the gap to Rosberg before both Mercedes pitted for the first and only time, taking the mediums.
He dropped back to fourth but reclaimed second when the Ferraris pitted for the second time.
Though Hamilton pushed to catch his title rival, he locked up at the first chicane, bouncing across the speed bumps in the middle before rejoining.
He was then warned by his team to build a gap to the Ferraris behind and his challenge faded.
Ricciardo, on fresh super-soft tyres, launched an attack from a long way back to pass Bottas into the first chicane to take fifth.
That overtake was the highlight of the Italian Grand Prix. It was a brave and superb move by the honey badger. So far back and yet Ricciardo pulled it off in passing Bottas.
His Red Bull team-mate also made a great overtake. Max Verstappen got a good run through Curva Grande and then passed Sergio Perez into the second chicane for seventh.
Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten.
The result means Williams moves back ahead of Force India into fourth place in the constructors’ championship with a three-point lead.
In a race of little drama, Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr collided on lap two with the Sauber driver being handed a 10s penalty by the stewards. Both retired with damage.
Not the most exciting Italian Grand Prix but in terms of the championship, this battle between the Mercedes drivers is getting more tense and dramatic. Two points the difference. Game on as Formula 1 departs Europe for the faraway races.
Italian Grand Prix, race results after 53 laps:
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h17m28.089s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 15.070s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 20.990s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 27.561s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 45.295s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 51.015s
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 54.236s
8 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m04.954s
9 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m05.617s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m18.656s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1 Lap
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1 Lap
18 Esteban Ocon Manor-Mercedes 2 Laps
– Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari Retirement
– Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes Retirement
– Jolyon Palmer Renault Retirement
– Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari Retirement
1 Lewis Hamilton 250
2 Nico Rosberg 248
3 Daniel Ricciardo 161
4 Sebastian Vettel 143
5 Kimi Raikkonen 136
6 Max Verstappen 121
7 Valtteri Bottas 70
8 Sergio Perez 62
9 Nico Hulkenberg 46
10 Felipe Massa 41
11 Fernando Alonso 30
12 Carlos Sainz 30
13 Romain Grosjean 28
14 Daniil Kvyat 23
15 Jenson Button 17
16 Kevin Magnussen 6
17 Pascal Wehrlein 1
18 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
19 Esteban Gutierrez 0
20 Jolyon Palmer 0
21 Marcus Ericsson 0
22 Felipe Nasr 0
23 Rio Haryanto 0
24 Esteban Ocon 0
1 Mercedes 498
2 Red Bull-Renault 290
3 Ferrari 279
4 Williams-Mercedes 111
5 Force India-Mercedes 108
6 McLaren-Honda 48
7 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 45
8 Haas-Ferrari 28
9 Renault 6
10 Manor-Mercedes 1
11 Sauber/Ferrari 0
Next race: Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay. September 16-18.