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Published: 14:28 | 4/9/16

Rosberg cuts Hamilton lead with Italian GP win

Nico Rosberg has cut Lewis Hamilton's lead at the top of the world drivers' championship table to two points after winning the Italian GP at Monza.

The German took advantage of a disastrous start from his team-mate to claim his second victory on the spin and let Hamilton know the destiny of the drivers' title is very much up for grabs.

The British driver's terrible start was very surprising considering the brilliant display all through the practice sessions which saw him claim pole and led to Rosberg admitting there wasn't nothing he could have done to beat his rival on Friday and Saturday.

The defending champion stuttered away from the line and was immediately swamped by the cars behind him, eventually heading into the first corner down in sixth place.

As well as Rosberg, the Ferrari pair of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, along with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, passed Hamilton and left him a huge task to fight back on a circuit with relatively few corners.

However, Hamilton started to climb back up the racing order when he passed Ricciardo on lap two while on lap 11 he overtook Bottas on Turn One.

The Ferrari duo were on a two-stop strategy and their first exit to the pits left Hamilton, who, like Rosberg, was on a single-stop strategy, in second place, 15 seconds behind Rosberg with over two-thirds of the race remaining.

The 31-year-old began to claw his way back up towards first place and after the Mercedes pair had come back out from their pit-stop, the gap had been reduced to 9.1secs.

But Rosberg responded to extend his lead and it some became clear that, with his tyres needing to be nursed to keep them in shape, Hamilton hadn't got the speed to get back in touch with Rosberg and the German completed a comprehensive 15sec victory.

Vettel filled the last spot on the podium while his team-mate Raikkonen secured fourth, just ahead of Ricciardo in fifth.

Bottas claimed sixth place ahead of Max Verstappen, with the young Red Bull driver a little off form after a week in which his driving style has been openly criticised.

The Force India of Sergio Perez ended up in eighth position while Felipe Massa, driving his last Italian GP after announcing he is quitting Formula One at the end of the current campaign, finished ninth, with the second Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

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