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Good job! Rosberg punishes Hamilton and closes championship gap to just 2 points

Slow start costs Hamilton at the Italian GP in Monza.

NICO ROSBERG EXPLOITED Lewis Hamilton’s poor start to claim his first Italian Grand Prix at Monza and move to within two points of his Mercedes temmaate in the world championship.

Rosberg roared into the lead at the first corner 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.

Sebastian Vettel came home third, 5.9 seconds further adrift, ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, to the delight of a ‘scarlet army’ of home fans who swarmed on to the famed track for a memorable podium ceremony.

It was Rosberg’s first Italian win, his seventh of the season and 21st of his career, reviving his championship challenge with seven races remaining.

“It was all down to the start. I had an awesome start and it was all from there,” beamed Rosberg.

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. “Good job!” Hamilton grimaced as he shook hands with Rosberg afterwards.

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 and knows, from the look on his face, that he has a battle to stay in front.

“This is the best crowd we get all year,” said Hamilton. “It’s a great day for Mercedes and I am glad to be a part of it, but I don’t know if it’s such a great day for the fans that there wasn’t more of us racing.”

He admitted that his bad start was his own fault, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

“Lewis came on the radio and said it was his mistake,” he said.

Hamilton added: “Yes, the start was the decider for this race and then I had to climb back and score points.

“I lost a lot of time as Nico went clear ‘easy-and-breezy’ and he did a great job — and I had to try and get back to second.”

© AFP 2016

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