Daniel Ricciardo of Australia won his first F1 race since 2018 with a perfect performance at the Italian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix for his sensational performance that brought his career to life.
The Australian started in 2nd place on the grid and passed championship leader Max Verstappen on lap 1 without looking back.
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After that spectacular overtaking move, Ricardo had to fend off accusations from Verstappen and his teammate Lando Norris.
Ricardo’s eighth win in his F1 career and his first race win since Monaco in 2018.
Ricardo kept Verstappen away on the opening lap, a smooth pit stop kept the momentum, and Verstappen’s Red Bull made a disastrously slow 10-second pit stop.
Shortly thereafter, both the Dutch and his championship rival Lewis Hamilton crashed from the race as Verstappen tried to overtake Hamilton in the chicane.
There wasn’t enough space for Verstappen to pass, and his wheel collided with Hamilton’s wheel, causing both cars to go off course and Red Bull sitting partially leaning over Mercedes.
The result was a horrifying image of Verstappen’s right rear tire appearing to hit Hamilton’s helmet. The helmet was only protected by a “hello” device around the head.
Steward later handed Verstappen a third-place grid penalty for his next race in Russia.
The crash caused one of several safety cars needed throughout the race due to various incidents.
The crashes of Verstappen and Hamilton definitely helped Ricardo’s chances, but the Australians must be praised for holding down Verstappen and carefully managing the rest of the race to ensure victory.
“He was perfect on the front lines and the restart was really successful,” said Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the two Ferrari drivers seemed to be paying late fees, but Ricardo and Norris managed to stop them with incredible effort.
Norris was eager to catch up with Ricardo, aiming for his first F1 victory. “Daniel needs to increase his pace a bit. His driving is too slow,” Norris told the McLaren team’s radio early in the race.
However, Brit was given a team order not to overtake Ricardo so that the pair could safely secure a 1-2 finish.
“Land, the best for us where you are,” McLaren told Norris. Norris asked if he was allowed to race with Ricardo.
In the end, Ricardo led from the first corner to the end of the race, and when he first crossed the finish line when the checkered flag was waved, he shouted in joy.
“Deeply, I thought this would come,” he said after claiming victory. “So thank you … Thank you for holding your back. And for those who thought I was gone, I never left. I moved aside for a while. Thank you everyone.”
The victory was an incredible result for Ricardo and McLaren, overcoming some long droughts for both the driver and the team.
This is Ricardo’s first victory in more than three years, or 1204 days to be exact. It is also McLaren’s first race win since 2012 and the team’s first 1-2 finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
This is also the first time both drivers have finished 1-2 at this season’s Grand Prix.
The victory is Ricardo’s best result at McLaren, surpassing his fifth-place finish at the Birmingham Grand Prix and his best result since leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018.
Witnessing eye pain, Ricardo stood on the podium at the trademark “Shuy” celebration, drinking champagne from his boots and playing Norris and McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
At the age of 32, he won an exciting race and was ecstatic to finally create his best form.
“Can I swear? I want to swear,” he added.
“To be honest, even if we got off to a good start, there was no guarantee that we would lead the whole race, but we were able to get the first stint forward.
“There was a safety car, and there was one, but I don’t think any of us expected it to literally lead from start to finish.
“I had something on Friday. I knew something good would come.”
Ricardo couldn’t believe he won the Grand Prix after struggling earlier this year.
“I’ve sandbaged SOB all year long,” he joked. “That is, I should win three, four, five times, and that’s what I did.
“Honestly, I just had to reset the August break, which made me feel better over the last three weekends,” he added.
“It’s insane to get one-on-two, not just win. It’s huge, not to mention one-on-two, for McLaren to be on the podium.”
Ricardo said he was not guaranteed to maintain his victory, but decided that there was nothing to prevent him from claiming a grand victory.
“When I took the lead … I’m talking to myself during today’s race,” he told Sky Sports. “I thought that even if I had a safety car, I would approach Charles (Leclerc) at some point, but I thought he might be like a fleece stop, so I wanted that desire. I brought it. ”
Ricardo was emotional when explaining what victory meant to him, especially after struggling in his first season at McLaren. He described the “most challenging” years of his career.
“Honestly, I don’t think it’s actually sinking yet,” he said after the race.
“In fact, it’s probably the first time I’ve been overwhelmed by the victory. I think so after more than three years.
“I know no one expected this to happen this year, especially since the first half of this year.”
Originally from Perth, he said he had experienced serious adversity this year, but overcoming it would make his victory in Italy even sweeter.
“It’s easy to lose confidence and get lost, but you never doubt yourself, just knowing deeply in yourself that it’s a place where perspective and everything bear fruit. No, “he said.
“If you really love and believe in something, you’ll never doubt yourself. Some of the speed bumps along the way make these moments so sweet.
“I’m grateful that I still have a tip on my shoulder. I don’t know, I’m just feeling everything right now.
“I’m soaked in glory here, so I’m not just saying it today. Sometimes it’s the most challenging year for me and I haven’t avoided it.
“If anything, I enjoyed the adversity and emotions I had internally as I came to understand who I was a little more as a person and as a competitor. I made a mistake. I accepted it without, but it certainly had some drawbacks. ”
Ricardo was weeping about how hard it was to miss her family because of the pandemic.
“Then you’re on top of it so you don’t go crazy for over a year and see your mom and dad,” he said.
“I’m very close to my family and very affectionate. Sometimes I don’t want anything but a hug from my mom and dad and a little pad on my back.
“It made difficult days difficult, but I think it also helped me reach this point.”
Italian GP results
1. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
2. Lando Norris (McLaren)
3. Barteribotta (Mercedes)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
7. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
8. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
9. George Russell (Williams)
10. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)