Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo has taken home the Italian Grand Prix at the world famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza in what has been a sensational weekend.
Ricciardo started the race in second after a strong performance in yesterday’s sprint race sitting behind Driver Championship leader Max Verstappen.
As soon as the lights went out, Ricciardo was the quickest to react, getting past Verstappen before the first turn and into pole position. This was the first time Ricciardo had led a race since Abu Dhabi in 2018 when he was still with Red Bull.
From there Ricciardo held his nerve and was able to successfully hold the lead, defending against Verstappen who had the advantage of DRS.
McLaren then made the decision to be the first team to pit at the top of the grid, bringing Ricciardo in on lap 23, where he came out in seventh place. The decision worked perfectly as Ricciardo flew around the track, putting pressure on Verstappen and Red Bull who had to pit a lap later due to being too slow.
The lap 26 incident between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton saw both drivers forced to retire from the race and resulted in a safety car, causing a huge number of drivers to pit as Ricciardo regained the lead.
With teammate Lando Norris in second place, McLaren was able to hold first and second.
With just over 10 laps to go, Norris asked the team the question of whether he should try to overtake Ricciardo or just remain in second and secure a one, two finish. Fortunately for Ricciardo, the team opted for Norris to remain in second essentially securing the win for the Aussie.
Ricciardo was then able to finish off the race and take home his eighth career win and his first win since the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018. To make it even sweeter, he also secured the fastest lap on the final lap, earning an extra point.
Post-race, Ricciardo was filled with joy after a frustrating start life at McLaren.
“About time,” Ricciardo said.
“There was something in me on Friday, I knew something good was to come. I’ve felt better the last three weekends, to not only win but get a one, two it’s insane. This is for team Papaya.”
Norris shared in Ricciardo’s joy, happy for his teammate and the team’s performance.
“I am happy finishing second, I am happy for Daniel finishing in first place, I’ll have my chance in the future,” Norris said.
In typical Ricciardo fashion he celebrated the victory with his trademark shoey.
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This win was McLaren’s first win since 2012 when Jenson Button won the Brazilian Grand Prix in the final race of the 2012 season.
The win clearly meant a lot for Ricciardo who has had a difficult start to life at McLaren, having taken his time to adjust to the transition to his new team.
Prior to this race’s result, Ricciardo had struggled to make the performances of his teammate, with some questioning if he still had it. His best result previous was a fourth-place finish at the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa, however no racing was done on that day.
Hopefully, today’s showing at Monza is a turning point for the Australian and a sign that the old Daniel Ricciardo is back.
Verstappen and Hamilton forced to retire after collision
For the second time this season, Driver Championship leaders Verstappen and Hamilton collided – this time, both suffering.
On lap 26 as Hamilton exited the pits, he came out wheel to wheel with Verstappen going into the chicane following the home straight.
On turn two Verstappen’s car clipped the side of the curb, sending him airborne and crashing into Hamilton’s Mercedes, with his car landing on the Brits in a nasty incident. As a result, both drivers had to retire from the race.
Fortunately, both Verstappen and Hamilton were able to walk away from the incident unscathed.
For Hamilton, this was the first time he has retired from a race since Austria 2018, having gone 63 starts in a row finishing the race.
As a result, Verstappen still stays ahead in the Driver standings, five points ahead, however Mercedes was able to extend its lead in the Constructors Championship after Valtteri Bottas finished in third. They now lead 362.5 to 344.5.
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