Ricciardo leads McLaren 1-2 at Monza as title contenders crash

Ricciardo leads McLaren 1-2 at Monza as title contenders crash, F1 Daily

By">Steven De Groote on

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has won the Italian Grand Prix ahead of team mate Lando Norris. As both title contenders again clashed and retired from the race, Valtteri Bottas had a brilliant recovery to finish third after starting from the back of the pack.

The Italian Grand Prix had Max Verstappen in pole position, ahead of McLaren’s Ricciardo and Norris. Hamilton, the big “loser” of Saturday’s sprint started from 4th, ahead of both Ferraris, Giovinazzi, Perez, Stroll and Alonso in 10th. Tsunoda retired from the race before the start while Gasly started from the pits after an engine change.

As the lights went out, Ricciardo made the best start and moved up into first place, ahead of Verstappen. Hamilton passed Norris for third and was alongside Verstappen at Variante Roggia, but was pushed wide and when returning to the track passed again by Norris.

The real trouble was behind where Giovinazzi went wide on the exit of Roggia, seemingly not aware that Sainz was still there too. Giovinazzi thereby saw his great start nullified. The race was briefly neutralised with a virtual safety car but as Giovinazzi made it to the pits without trouble, normal racing got going again soon.

Gasly meanwhile retired, joining his teammate in the pit box and enabling Alphatauri to start packing their bags a bit earlier than expected.

By lap 13, Ricciardo was still closely followed by Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver had not managed to really put the leader under pressure. Norris on the other hand trailed 5s and was repeatedly attacked by Hamilton, albeit without success. Leclerc followed in 5th, 4s ahead of Perez, Sainz, Stroll and Alonso. Valtteri Bottas was already up in 10th place, steadily making progress.

On lap 21, Verstappen missed his braking point at Turn 1 and locked up the front left, adding to the tyre complaints he already had. All medium tyre runners were having similar problems, however, and the first to stop was Ricciardo on lap 22. It was done in 2.4s. Red Bull reacted the next lap, but Verstappen was stopped for 11.1s, dropping him down to 10th, just behind Alonso.

At the exact same time, Hamilton passed Norris on track, after which the McLaren driver was pitted. Hamilton pitted one lap later. When he returned to the track after a not-so-great stop, he ended up side by side on the entry of Turn 1 with Verstappen. Hamilton on the inside, Verstappen on the outside, though with Hamilton slightly ahead.

Both title contenders turned in side by side, but in the next left-hander, as Hamilton turned left, Verstappen ran up on Hamilton’s left rear, jumped in the rear and ended up on top of the Mercedes, leaving both to retire from the race from the gravel trap. Verstappen rapidly got out of the car and furiously walked away while Hamilton stayed in the car for a bit longer, perhaps still shaken and realising the Halo saved him from a serious injury.

During the virtual safety car to clear the track, Ricciardo was in front, ahead of Leclerc, Norris, Perez, Sainz, Botts, Stroll, Alonso, Russell and Ocon.

when the race got going again on lap 30, Norris immediately made a daring move to get past Leclerc. Leclerc soon also lost another position to Perez and then to Bottas as the Mercedes driver continued his charge to the front of the field. Perez’s move however was only possible by cutting the Roggia chicane, resulting in a 5s time penalty.

Around lap 35, positions stagnated a bit, with the front 6 cars all quite close one to the other. Bottas was usually closest to Perez, but every time he tried to make a pass, it failed, leading him into another chase to reduce the gap.

Positions remained the same though, resulting in Ricciardo’s first win for McLaren as Norris makes it a perfect result for the Woking based team. Perez finished third, but his penalty dropped him to 5th, bringing Bottas and Leclerc up one place.

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