Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix in a stunning McLaren one-two at Monza on Sunday while Formula One title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton took each other out of the race.
The victory was McLaren’s first win since 2012, the last being Jenson Button’s victory in Brazil in November of that year, and Ricciardo’s first since he was at Red Bull in 2018.
“About time,” smiled the happy Australian before performing his trademark ‘Shoey’ — glugging the podium champagne from his sweaty boot and sharing it with second-placed teammate Lando Norris and McLaren boss Zak Brown. “To not only win but to get a one-two, it’s insane. For McLaren to be on the podium is huge,” he said.
Ricciardo, whose other seven wins were all with Red Bull, had started on the front row and seized the lead from Verstappen at the start and he completed his day with a bonus point for fastest lap and voted Driver of the Day by fans.
The result, on pace and merit, was a perfect reply from the Australian to his critics after struggling to get to grips with the McLaren since joining from Renault at the end of last year.
“For anyone who thought I’d left, I never left,” he said over the radio after taking the chequered flag.“I just moved aside for a while.”
Valtteri Bottas took third for Mercedes after winning the Saturday sprint race and then starting at the back of the grid due to engine penalties.
While McLaren celebrated, Verstappen and Hamilton had nothing to smile about.
The pair collided and crashed out after their pitstops, with Verstappen’s Red Bull lifting off the kerb and ending up on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes in the gravel, with the halo head protection device keeping the champion out of harm’s way. Both climbed out after the accident at the first chicane, with Verstappen’s five-point lead in the championship unchanged.
“That’s what happens when you don’t give space,” said Verstappen on the team radio of what could be a defining image of the season and evoked memories of the famous late 1980s clashes between the late Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
“It (the car) landed on my head, but I’ll be OK,” said a sore Hamilton.
The pair have collided before this season, notably at Hamilton’s own British Grand Prix, and Sunday’s latest clash will keep fans talking for some time.