Nico Rosberg believes his maiden Italian Grand Prix victory at Monza on Sunday was “all down to the start” after getting the jump on Formula 1 title rival and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton got too much wheelspin from pole position, dropping down the order and allowing Rosberg to capitalize and shoot from second to first place at the opening corner.
Rosberg didn’t look back, leading all but one lap en route to his seventh victory of the season at Monza, closing the gap to Hamilton in the drivers’ championship to two points.
Taking to the podium after the race – his 50th top-three finish in F1 – Rosberg reveled in the celebrations sparking below him with the Italian fans.
“Thank you very much everyone. Very happy to finally win here in Italy,” Rosberg said.
“You guys are amazing. I’m gonna enjoy this day.
“It was all down to the start. Awesome start. That’s what made the win.”
Rosberg also spoke of his happiness to finally win in Italy, a country he loves, before addressing the crowd in Italian and starting a chant to the tune of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’.
The result not only brings Rosberg back into the thick of the title fight with Hamilton, but also ends a Monza hoodoo.
In 2014, two mistakes saw Rosberg squander a healthy lead and hand Hamilton a victory that started a streak which proved instrumental in the Briton’s title success.
Last year, a late retirement all but ended Rosberg’s title hopes, the non-score acting as a big, decisive swing in the points race.
Victory also makes 2016 Rosberg’s most successful season in F1 if measured in race wins, his tally of seven one better than the six wins he amassed in 2015.