Nico Rosberg boosted his Formula 1 title hopes by recording a commanding victory in the Italian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver took full advantage of a sluggish start for championship rival and pole- sitter Lewis Hamilton to emerge in the lead, which he held throughout the 53 lap journey at Monza.
As Hamilton dropped to sixth, Rosberg fended off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel before breaking away into a comfortable lead.
The German driver was never threatened as he controlled the race, while Ferrari struggled to match the Mercedes, with Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen forced into a two-stop strategy.
Hamilton quickly recovered from his slow start to claim fourth in the early laps, before climbing to second behind Rosberg after his one and only pit stop.
However, Rosberg had the measure of his team-mate to take the chequered flag by 15.07s and close to within two points of Hamilton in the championship standings.
“It is a very special day for me,” said Rosberg.
“I’m very happy to have finally made it to the top step of the podium in Monza.
“It was all down to the start. I got an awesome launch and I just went from there.”
Hamilton was left to settle for second while Vettel claimed the final spot on the podium in third.
“Obviously the start was the deciding factor in the race and after that it was just about getting back into second to reduce the loss,” said Hamilton.
“I don’t know what happened. I will try to understand it later. I did everything normal. I did the sequence exactly the same, I think I just got lots of wheel spin.”
Raikkonen followed his team-mate for the majority of the race to come home in fourth as Ferrari asserted themselves as Mercedes’ nearest challengers.
Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a race-long battle with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas for fifth.
Bottas had the upper hand on the Red Bull driver for much of the encounter, although an inspired two-stop strategy brought the Australian into play in the closing laps.
A switch to super-soft tyres for the final 15 laps allowed the 27-year-old to reel in Bottas before he pulled off a stunning pass for the position at Turn 1 with six laps remaining.
Bottas was unable to respond leaving Ricciardo hold onto the spot at the flag.
The sister Red Bull of Max Verstappen bounced back from a slow start to finish seventh ahead of Sergio Perez (Force India).
The top 10 was completed by Felipe Massa (Williams) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) as Williams moved ahead of Force India in the constructors’ championship.
Romain Grosjean brought his Haas F1 to the finish in 11th ahead of Jenson Button (McLaren), Esteban Gutierrez (Haas F1) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren).
The only incident of note occurred in the early laps when Sauber’s Felipe Nasr made contact with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, which ultimately saw both drivers retire from the race.
The pair were joined on the sidelines by Pascal Wehrlein, who suffered a mechanical issue with his Manor, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who sustained damage to his car.
Formula 1 moves to Asia for the Singapore Grand Prix from September 16-18.
Result: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||53 Laps|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||+45.29|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||+54.23|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||+1:04.95|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||+1:18.65|
|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|
|DNF||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||Retirement|