Currently reading: Daniel Ricciardo claims shock win at F1 Italian GP
Australian bags first victory for McLaren; Hamilton and Verstappen crash out after collision
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3 mins read
13 September 2021

Daniel Ricciardo emerged as the shock winner at Monza, securing the first Formula 1 victory for McLaren since Jenson Button triumphed at Interlagos in 2012. Even better, team-mate Lando Norris was second, ahead of the Mercedes-AMG of Valtteri Bottas.

As he crossed the line, the sense of joy was clear as Ricciardo screamed: "Yes! For anyone who thought I left, I never left. Thanks, guys.” Ricciardo’s words reflected the pressure he has been under this season, with younger team-mate Norris generally outperforming him.

The Australian got the jump on Max Verstappen at the start of the race and looked comfortable from there on. Despite the performances of Verstappen and Red Bull so far this season, the Dutchman never really threatened, and wasn’t helped by an uncharacteristically slow pit stop.

In terms of the overall championship, Verstappen remains five points ahead of Sir Lewis Hamilton after the two clashed heavily just over halfway through the race. The two title protagonists were duelling from the start, Hamilton trying a move on Verstappen into the second chicane that didn’t work out, dropping him back behind Norris to fourth.

Hamilton eventually found his way past the McLaren and it was looking good for his 100th victory, but a slow stop for the seven-time champion meant he emerged only just ahead of Verstappen. As the two diced into the first chicane, neither was willing to concede and the Red Bull bounced off the kerbs and onto the top of the Mercedes, pitching both cars into the gravel and immediately out of the race.

Both drivers were summoned to the race stewards afterwards, with Verstappen incurring a three-place grid penalty for the next GP in Russia.

Amid all that drama, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fourth, Sergio Pérez fifth, the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz sixth, Lance Stroll and his Aston Martin seventh, and the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon eighth and 10th, sandwiching George Russell’s Williams.

Ricciardo comes good

It’s not been an easy season for Ricciardo, only qualifying ahead of Norris on six occasions and, until Monza, scoring just 56 points compared with his British team-mate’s 114. But a superb drive in Italy was a rich reward for his efforts to get on terms with his car, with the popular Australian celebrating with one of his trademark ‘shoeys’ on the podium.

A special mention should go to Norris. The move he pulled on Leclerc, overtaking the Ferrari driver up the inside of the Curva Grande with one wheel on the grass, was a real sit-up-and-take-notice moment. There’s minimal run-off there, so it was a brave effort.

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Halo does its job again 

Some superb slo-mo camera footage showed how much the Halo device saved Hamilton in his clash with Verstappen. The underside of the Red Bull crushed Hamilton’s camera and airbox, before Verstappen’s right rear tyre slid further down over the top of Hamilton’s cockpit.

If the Halo hadn’t been there, the full weight of Verstappen’s rear tyre would have landed on Hamilton’s helmet. The consequences of that don’t bear thinking about.

Bottas dropped but outperforms Hamilton

In the same week that Bottas was dumped by Mercedes-Benz and his move to Alfa Romeo was confirmed, the Finn outperformed his illustrious team-mate. Bottas qualified on pole for Saturday’s sprint race ahead of Hamilton, won that event, took a 20-place grid penalty for an engine change and then stormed through the field to end up third (albeit thanks to a penalty for Pérez).

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Peter Cavellini 16 September 2021

I'm surprised no one has dragged up the Senna/ Prost epic of way back!, that was nothing to do with old v young, that was pure Ego no question, if Verstappen gets the idea, switches onto driving more maturely, he should by now, he's not exactly a newbee on the grid, he possibly might have been even further ahead.

si73 13 September 2021
Can the top two keep taking each other out please, makes for a far more interesting race, really pleased for McLaren, Lando was brilliant as usual and it's fantastic to see Daniel getting back to normal, he drove a superb race and didn't put a wheel wrong? Does that work?
The crash/clash, whatever, well, I keep thinking that Max needs to learn to yield once in a while, I thought that back at Silverstone, many said Lewis would never have made the corner at Silverstone, so if Max had yielded he would still have a 20+ point lead as Lewis would have run off the track, as a worse case Lewis would have made the corner and he'd have come second to Lewis and still had a 20+ point lead. Same again at Monza, yield, use the kerbs and escape like Lewis had to in turn 4 lap 1 when Max gave no room and forced him wide. He would still have had useful points and be leading the championship most likely, and wouldn't be facing a grid penalty. He doesn't seem to be playing the long game of getting a good points haul, if he did he could be a win ahead points wise at the mo'.
Peter Cavellini 13 September 2021

 A great race, lots of superb passing, brave ones to, Ricciardo did a standup job leading from start to finish, Bottas did his usual produced a great race but that only proved he isn't consistent,and that's what in F1 you've got to be, the rest of the field was from average to mediocre, the Haas duo were just plain bad, not racing as a team, got the feeling that the drivers don't get on which doesn't help, the Ferrari team were average never really threatened,and, then we must mention the incident, yes, I think Verstappens banzai, young gun driving style of no respect, no thought to what might happen and the potential life threatening danger he puts others in and himself, so the three place drop next race isn't that big a deal, and I dare say he isn't bothered by the two points on his F1 drivers licence, al in all, I think we've got a decent  better Championship this year which is good, nobody running away with it, I hope it continues.