Daniel Ricciardo clinched a sensational win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy. Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas joined him on the podium in an action-packed race.
Ricciardo has struggled since the start of the season with his new team and it was finally redemption for the Australian to record the eighth win of his career and his first win for the McLaren F1 team.
This is the first win for the McLaren team after the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. The long wait has ended with a McLaren 1-2 on a day when the championship leaders took each other out after their first pit stop.
The race started under hot conditions with the air temperature at 28 degrees C and the track temperature at 43 degrees C at the “temple of speed”.
The Pirelli tyre choice for the race was the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4).
Max Verstappen started in pole position with Ricciardo joining him on the first row. Norris and Lewis Hamilton started on the second row.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were on the third row. Antonio Giovinazzi, Sergio Pérez, Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso started at the sharp end of the grid.
Pierre Gasly started in the pit lane after changes to his car after his crash in the sprint race. Yuki Tsunoda was wheeled into the pit lane from the starting grid and did not start the race. Bottas started in nineteenth position after penalties for power unit changes.
The drivers had a free choice of tyres. Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Bottas and Gasly started on the hard compound tyres. The other drivers started on the medium compound tyres.
Ricciardo had a great launch and led Verstappen into Turn 1. Hamilton got past Norris and drew level with Verstappen. But he had to take evasive action and leave the track as Verstappen closed the gap. Hamilton rejoined behind Norris in fourth position.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed as Giovinazzi rejoined the track in an unsafe manner and speared into Sainz. The Italian dropped to the back of the field with front-wing damage.
The VSC ended on the second lap and Ricciardo stayed in front of Verstappen and the Dutchman could not overtake him even after he had DRS lap after lap. Behind them, Norris kept Hamilton at bay even though Hamilton was within DRS-range.
Gasly retired after three laps and joined Tsunoda on the sidelines. Bottas made steady progress from the back and by lap 19 was in ninth position. Ocon and Vettel clashed as Vettel tried to overtake and Ocon was given a 5-second penalty.
On lap 22, Ricciardo pitted and rejoined in seventh position behind Sainz. On the next lap, Red Bull Racing responded and pitted Verstappen, but the pit stop went wrong and he was stationary for 11.1 seconds.
Verstappen rejoined in tenth position behind Alonso and this set in motion the events for the dramatic crash that followed. During that pit stop, Hamilton had overtaken Norris on the track to take the race lead.
On lap 25, Norris pitted and rejoined in eighth position ahead of Verstappen in ninth position. On the next lap, Hamilton pitted and rejoined the track between Norris and Verstappen.
As the two championship leaders went into the Rettifilo chicane almost side by side with neither willing to back out, Verstappen jumped over the sausage kerbs and crashed into Hamilton. Another dramatic incident in the championship battle and Hamilton and Verstappen’s race was over.
The Safety Car (SC) was deployed and a number of drivers pitted under the SC. At the restart the order was Ricciardo, Leclerc, Norris, Pérez, Sainz, Bottas, Stroll, Alonso, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
After the Safety Car period ended, Norris overtook Leclerc on lap 31 to take second position. On the next lap, Pérez overtook Leclerc from outside the track and was given a 5-second penalty that was added to his time at the end of the race.
Bottas was on a charge and almost overtook Pérez but could not make the move stick. On lap 44, Nikita Mazepin who was given a 5-second penalty for a clash with his team-mate drew to a halt at the exit of the Ascari chicane.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed briefly. Ricciardo after the restart had a comfortable gap of two seconds to Norris and came home comfortably for a famous win. For good measure, the ever-smiling Australian clinched an extra point for the fastest lap on the final lap of the race.
McLaren returned to winning ways with a 1-2 on a day that saw the championship leaders crash out. Bottas joined them on the podium after a comeback drive from the back of the grid.
Leclerc finished in fourth position after a steady drive. Pérez finished in fifth position after his time penalty was applied. Sainz finished in sixth position ahead of Stroll who will be investigated post-race for not slowing down under yellow flags.
Alonso, Russell and Ocon rounded off the top ten positions in an action-packed race at Monza.
The clash between the championship leaders will be analyzed and investigated and will add further fuel to the fire in the red hot championship battle.
2021 Italian GP Race Results:
|1||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||53||1:21:54.365||26|
|2||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||53||+1.747s||18|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||53||+4.921s||15|
|4||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||53||+7.309s||12|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||53||+8.723s||10|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||53||+10.535s||8|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||53||+15.804s||6|
|8||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||53||+17.201s||4|
|9||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||53||+19.742s||2|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||53||+20.868s||1|
|11||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||53||+23.743s||0|
|12||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||53||+24.621s||0|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||53||+27.216s||0|
|14||88||Robert Kubica||POL||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||53||+29.769s||0|
|15||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||53||+51.088s||0|
|NC||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||41||DNF||0|
|NC||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||25||DNF||0|
|NC||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||25||DNF||0|
|NC||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||3||DNF||0|
|NC||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||0||DNS||0|