Real Sociedad travelled to Madrid with the fourth worst defensive record in the Liga Santander and they fell behind after less than a minute as Lucas Vazquez, who was in the side for the rested Gareth Bale, opened the scoring, reports Xinhua news agency.
Cristiano Ronaldo doubled Madrid's lead in the 27th minute to start a 10-minute spell in which Zinedine Zidane's side killed off the game with another goal from the Portuguese and another from Ton Kroos.
With the game won by half time Zidane was able to rest key players in a second half in which Ronaldo finished off his hat-trick, while Real Sociedad scored consolation goals through Jon Bautista and Asier Illaramendi.
It is Atletico's eighth 1-0 win of the campaign and temporarily moves them to within six points of FC Barcelona, who entertain Getafe in the Camp Nou stadium on Sunday.
Villarreal missed a chance to move level of points with third placed Valencia, who play on Sunday, when they were beaten 2-1 at home by Alaves.
Finally Ivan Ramis scored a 94th minute header to lift Eibar into sixth place with a 1-0 win away to Leganes.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)