Formula 1: Ricciardo Wins Thrilling Monza Race as Championship Leaders Collide
The Aussie takes McLaren’s first victory in 9 years, and their first 1-2 since 2010 as Lando Norris finishes second.
In an eventful race which saw Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collide and retire from the Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo manages to steal the show and take a remarkable victory for McLaren. The Aussie finally returns to the top step after a couple of winless years in Renault, and an uneasy start with McLaren this season. He takes the chequered flag ahead of Lando Norris and Sergio Perez, before the latter was demoted two places from a time penalty, eventually handing the final podium spot to Valtteri Bottas.
Starting second alongside Verstappen on the front row, Ricciardo launched quicker and took the lead by the first turn. Hamilton then attempted to pass Verstappen in the fourth turn, a move which backfired as he was pushed wide and dropped behind Verstappen and Norris. Behind them was the battle of the Italian cars, where Leclerc and Giovinazzi both running wide as well and the latter cutting the chicane. He then tangled with Carlos Sainz while rejoining the track and spun to the barriers, losing his front wing and effectively ending hopes of a strong home grand prix.
Ricciardo controlled the pace and held Verstappen behind for 21 laps before pitting for hard tyres, with Verstappen doing the same a lap later. However, Red Bull’s pit crew struggled to secure his front right tyre properly, leaving the Dutchman stranded in his pit box for 11 seconds. While that all unfolded, Hamilton overtook Norris down the main straight, prompting the latter to pit for fresh tyres in an attempt to undercut both Hamilton and Verstappen. The undercut eventually succeeded, also thanks to a delayed pit stop which costed Hamilton 4.3 seconds. While Norris flew past the exiting Hamilton, Verstappen approached the chicane attempting to outbrake the Mercedes, only for Hamilton to immediately defend and run Verstappen wide. The Dutchman stayed committed to making the pass stick until he ran over the infamous sausage kerb, bouncing his car and sending it straight to his rival. The momentum he carried led to an unusual tyre collision which sent him flying and landing atop Hamilton’s car, beaching them into the gravel. Furthermore, the Halo device thankfully saved Hamilton from a serious outcome as both drivers walked away uninjured.
The incident brought the safety car out, which led to Leclerc and Russell taking advantage of the period to make their first pit stops, rejoining the pack in 2nd and 9th place respectively with fresh tyres. After the racing resumed, Norris passed Leclerc for 2nd with ease, and holding position to secure McLaren’s race lead. A few laps later, Perez attempted a move on Leclerc which resulted in him cutting the chicane to gain the final podium place, earning himself a 5-second time penalty. Leclerc eventually lost 4th to Bottas who fought all the way from the back of the grid, and the Finn stayed on Perez’s tail to the end of the race and inherited the podium after the Mexican was demoted 2 spots for his penalty. Ricciardo crosses the line first, winning his first race since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix and McLaren’s first since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix with Jenson Button. Norris secures a McLaren 1-2, making it their first since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix with Hamilton and Button at the time. With Bottas rounding off the podium, he helps Mercedes extend their lead in the Constructors’ Championship by 5 points.
Background Image Credits: McLaren Media