While championship contenders Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton were left fuming towards one another with wrecked race cars following a midway collision, Daniel Ricciardo rose to the occasion and snapped winless droughts for himself and the McLaren F1 Team by winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza Circuit on Sunday, September 12.
The 32-year-old veteran from Perth, Australia, started the weekend by sharing the front row with former teammate Verstappen following a third-place result in the Italian Grand Prix F1 Sprint that occurred on Saturday, September 11. After leading the first 21 laps, Ricciardo returned to the lead on Lap 27, which he kept for the remainder of the event as he led a 1-2 finish across the line with teammate Lando Norris settling in a career-best runner-up result.
With his eighth career victory in Formula One and first driving for McLaren, Ricciardo’s Italian win snapped a three-year winless drought that spans back to the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. In addition, McLaren achieved its first victory in F1 since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and its first 1-2 finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
“It’s definitely been crazy, it’s been a whirlwind, for sure,” Ricciardo said. “Definitely, there’s been days where it’s been the most challenging of my career to date. To come back to this point, to win, this result feels unbelievable. I’m certainly like overwhelmed and I’m on cloud 9 right now, but I’m not surprised. There was something in me that I knew that if we had a chance this week, we were gonna take it, whether a win or a podium. It was time to make the comeback.”
Teammate Norris, who is still pursuing his first victory in F1, settled in second for his fourth podium result of the season. Still, there was nothing but a beaming smile across the Bristol, England’s face with the team victory.
“Of course I’m happy,” Norris said. “I’m happy with my result, but [I’m] even happier knowing the fact that Daniel was first and as a team, we had a one-two, which I don’t think we would’ve ever believed coming into this season and even coming into this race. I’m so happy for everyone, for the mechanics, engineers, for [CEO] Zak [Brown] and the owners. It makes the race special. It makes the hard work and the pain worthwhile. When you are rewarded like this weekend and have a result like we did, it makes it so much worthwhile.”
While the McLaren F1 Team celebrated, Verstappen and Hamilton were left fuming over one another following another on-track incident that resulted with both remaining in a tight draw for the championship battle.
The incident occurred on Lap 26 of 53 when Hamilton had just exited pit road and was blending back on the track at full speed. While Norris got by Hamilton, Hamilton then batted dead even with Verstappen through the first turn when Verstappen, who went to the outside of Hamilton’s Mercedes, bumped the curbs while off the course and ended up on top of Hamilton’s car, sending both competitors into the gravel trap and out of the race.
“We saw that it was gonna be tight into Turn 1,” Verstappen said. “Lewis also realized that, so after the white line, he moved to the left on the braking. I already had to move on to the green side next to the track. Nevertheless, I thought we were gonna have a nice fight into Turn 1 through Turn 2, but as soon as I was next to him, he just kept squeezing me more and more to the left. Unfortunately, he ran me a bit too much out of road and then, I clipped the sausage curb and that’s why we touched.”
“I was ahead going into the corner and the next thing you know, I guess Max went over the second curb or something like that,” Hamilton said. “He, obviously, knew at that point that he wasn’t going to make the corner and drove into me. The next thing you know, his [car’s] on top of me. Definitely unfortunate. We’ll speak to the stewards after this, for sure.”
Following the event and the review of the incident, Verstappen was given a three-place penalty for the next scheduled Grand Prix event in Russia by the stewards. Nonetheless, Verstappen retained his lead in the drivers’ standings by five points over Hamilton.
Behind the McLarens, Sergio “Checo” Perez, Red Bull’s second competitor, crossed the finish line in third place, but he was penalized five seconds for overtaking Charles Leclerc while off the course in the event. As a result, Valtteri Bottas, who won the Italian Grand Prix Sprint qualifying event on Saturday but started Sunday at the rear of the field due to an engine penalty, was promoted to third place as he claimed his eighth podium result of the season.
Leclerc, driving for Ferrari, finished fourth while Perez fell back to fifth. Carlos Sainz Jr. came home in sixth followed by Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, George Russell and Esteban Ocon.
Finishing outside the top-10 points-paying positions were Nicholas Latifi, Sebastian Vettel, Antonio Giovinazzi, Robert Kubica and Mick Schumacher. Giovinazzi rallied from an opening lap spin while Kubica filled in as an interim competitor for Kimi Räikkönen for a second consecutive Grand Prix event.
Rookie Nikita Mazepin retired in 16th, just ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen. Pierre Gasly, who claimed his maiden Grand Prix victory at Monza a year ago, could only complete the first couple of corners in the event before retiring after running into the rear of Ricciardo, losing his front wing and going dead straight into the barriers, which knocked him out of the event. Teammate Yuki Tsunoda did not even take the grid or compete in the event due to a mechanical issue, thus placing him in 20th place.
1. Daniel Ricciardo, 27 points, 48 laps led
2. Lando Norris, 18 points, one lap led
3. Valtteri Bottas, 18 points
4. Charles Leclerc, 12 points, one lap led
5. Sergio Perez, 10 points
6. Carlos Sainz Jr., eight points
7. Lance Stroll, six points
8. Fernando Alonso, four points
9. George Russell, two points
10. Esteban Ocon, one point
11. Nicholas Latifi
12. Sebastian Vettel
13. Antonio Giovinazzi
14. Robert Kubica
15. Mick Schumacher
16. Nikita Mazepin – Retired
17. Lewis Hamilton – Retired, two laps led
18. Max Verstappen – Retired, two points, one lap led
19. Pierre Gasly – Retired
20. Yuki Tsunoda – Did not start
Following an eventful Italian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen continues to lead the drivers’ standings by five points over Hamilton. With Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finishing third, two spots ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Mercedes continues to lead the constructors’ standings by 18 points over Red Bull Racing with McLaren trailing by 147 points.
The Formula One competitors will be taking a one-week break before returning to action at Sochi Autodrom for the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, September 26.