Mon, Sep 05, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Rosberg wins in Monza, cuts lead gap

HAMILTON FALTERS:Drivers’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who started the race in pole position, lost in the first 20m and now leads the standings by just two points

AFP, MONZA, Italy

German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes yesterday leads the pack at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy.

Photo: EPA

Nico Rosberg pounced on a poor start by his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to win yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix and cut his championship lead to just two points.

The 31-year-old German took the lead at the start, 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.

Hamilton, who effectively lost the race in the first 20m when the lights went out, now leads the title race with 250 points ahead of Rosberg on 248.

Sebastian Vettel came home third, 5.9 seconds further adrift, ahead of his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to the delight of the home fans.

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

“Thank you very much guys,” Rosberg said. “It is great to win Italy.”

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 1950s, 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.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth for Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen who was seventh in the second Red Bull, Sergio Perez of Force India, retirement-bound Felipe Massa in the second Williams and German Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India.

In related news, the long-awaited sale of Formula One to a US media group is to be completed next week, according to media reports yesterday.

The well-sourced German magazine Auto Motor und Sport said that the sport’s veteran commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone had confirmed the deal at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

The magazine reported that Ecclestone said Liberty Media will make the first of two payments on Tuesday in a deal valued at US$8.5 billion.

If that goes through, according to well-informed paddock sources, current owners CVC Capital Parners, who hold a 35 per cent stake, will leave the sport.

Liberty Media Group, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is expected to take control of the company that will run the Formula One.

Ecclestone said his future with the business would remain in his hands.

“What role I play is my decision,” he said.

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