Nico Rosberg is a happy man after cutting Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton's Formula One championship lead down to two points. The German driver capitalised on his teammate's poor start and raced to his first Italian Grand Prix title at Monza on Sunday.
Having completed the Europe leg with two consecutive wins, Rosberg said he was looking forward to the upcoming night race in Singapore. "I'm feeling great. The race is on with Lewis of course, it's always going to be a great battle and I look forward to what's to come," he was quoted as saying by the official website of F1.
Rosberg raced past the chequered flag 15 seconds clear of Hamilton and took his season tally to 248, two points behind the leader. It was also the seventh win for the German driver in the 2016 season. Rosberg had to take an early lead after losing the pole position to his teammate in the qualifying race and he did exactly that on Sunday.
"It was all down to the start. I had an awesome start and that made the win, so it was all there," Rosberg said.
Hamilton's dream of winning the Italian GP for the third consecutive time was crushed and the Brit conceded that he didn't get off the blocks well. Notably, he had alerted his engineers that it was his fault at the beginning of the race and maintained that he did everything normal.
"Well, obviously yeah it was lost at the start. To be honest, I knew my engineers would be worried and nervous of how the start went, so that's why I tried to put their minds at ease. I don't really know what happened at the start, though obviously I will try to understand it later. I did everything normal," he said.
"Obviously the start, but it's still a great day for Mercedes Benz and I'm proud to be a part of it," Hamilton added as the Rosberg and himself dominated yet another day in the 2016 season.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who finished third, revealed he knew the race was over when the Hamilton did one stop lesser than him. Despite going ahead of Hamilton at the start, Vettel conceded the advantage to the Mercedes driver.
"Well, he did one stop less, so obviously it was clear after our second stop he would be ahead of us – and I think the problem was that he was too far ahead of us. Simple as that," the German said.
Vettel also accidentally wore the first-place hat for a brief period post the race only to hand it over to Rosberg after he realised the goof-up.
"Well, we'll try. We're working very hard. They are doing a very good job, so you have to say "well done" and show them the respect for what the achieved in the last couple of years, but we're fighting. I'm sure Ferrari will come back," Vettel said.