Ricciardo didn’t need title rivals’ latest clash for stunning Monza win

2021 Italian Grand Prix review

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Prior to Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, in the seven-and-a-half seasons held under the V6 turbo formula, 170 grands prix had been raced and won.

The total number of victories taken by Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari – 167.

The total taken by every other team – just three.

But there was one common theme binding Pierre Gasly’s shocking victory for AlphaTauri at Monza last year, Sergio Perez’s career-saving triumph for Racing Point in Sakhir and Esteban Ocon’s out-of-the-blue win for Alpine in Hungary. All required major mishaps for the traditional frontrunners for their race-winning opportunity to open up to them.

So when Daniel Ricciardo led McLaren team mate Lando Norris home at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, not only did they end the longest win drought in the team’s storied history, they arguably became the first manufacturer outside of the ‘big three’ to do so on pure pace.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Monza, 2021
Bottas flew to sprint qualifying win, but started race last
True, if there was one blessing of good fortune McLaren could be thankful for that may have helped to make this improbable result possible, it was that the fastest man around the Monza circuit across Friday and Saturday would be doomed to start his Sunday from the rear of the field.

Valtteri Bottas had defiantly reacted to news that his services would no longer be required at Mercedes for 2022 by being fastest of all in Friday’s qualifying session before cruising to an easy victory in Saturday’s sprint qualifying race. But what should have been a reward of pole position would never come for the departing Bottas as a myriad of power unit component penalties had put paid to any chance of a top 10 start.

Instead, for the third Sunday in succession, Max Verstappen lined up at the front of the grid. But rather than the black silhouettes that have typically filled both the Red Bull’s mirrors at the start this season, two flashes of orange filled the championship leader’s his peripheral vision instead.

Ricciardo, refreshed and refocused after the summer break, had jumped team mate Norris on Saturday evening to line up on the front row of the grid for the first time since taking pole for the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix. With his two cars flanking the championship leader on the grid – and one of the longest runs down a first corner on the calendar – McLaren team principal Andrea Seidl recognised how vulnerable the championship leader was to them at the start.

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“Of course we will not try to do anything stupid,” Seidl had said, “but when you start from P2 and P3 here in Monza with the long run to the first corner as well there’s always a chance to get a good tow and maybe be first after the first corner.”

It did not take long for that to be proven true.

Ricciardo out-dragged Verstappen to turn one
Ricciardo looked destined to reach the Rettifilo chicane ahead of his former Red Bull team mate from the moment he dropped the clutch. Such was his superior start, Ricciardo was already into the lead before the pit lane exit fully blends into the race track.

Despite the snaking in the field as the drivers dashed down to the tightest first corner sequence on the calendar, the pack successfully navigated the chicane without incident, with Ricciardo leading from Verstappen while Norris lost third to Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes swept around the outside of him.

Hamilton was pulled along by Verstappen’s slipstream through Curva Grande, moving to the outside line as the pair approached the braking zone for the Roggia chicane literally wheel-to-wheel. They remained so as they turned in, with Hamilton sent bouncing over the run-off kerbs in a carbon copy of the first Italian round at Imola, Norris happily taking advantage to recover third place.

Further back, there was more tyre-to-tyre contact as Antonio Giovinazzi ran wide at the same chicane and rejoined in front of Carlos Sainz Jnr. The pair tangled awkwardly, pitching the Alfa Romeo into the barrier on the left-hand-side of the track and breaking its front wing.

As the Virtual Safety Car was called to clear the debris, the drivers slowed dramatically along the back straight to give themselves enough of a buffer to the compulsory time delta they were bound by. But the earlier than expected resumption of the race appeared to catch out many of the front-runners, with gaps of over two seconds now separating Verstappen, Norris, Hamilton and Leclerc.

Verstappen, however, rapidly closed the gap to the leader once the green flag was flown and was already comfortably within DRS range when the system was enabled shortly after. It seemed a swift resumption of the usual competitive order was on the cards. But even with the additional speed boost on what is already the fastest circuit in the championship, Verstappen was unable to press Ricciardo in a way the seven-time race winner couldn’t handle.

“It’s always the same garbage,” a frustrated Verstappen vented over the radio. “It’s impossible to get close.”

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“Verstappen reported overtaking is difficult,” McLaren race engineer Tom Stallard informed his race-leading driver. “Okay. Keep me posted,” Ricciardo replied, coolly.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2021
Hamilton became a factor at mid-race, passing Norris
Meanwhile, Hamilton in fourth was biding his time and managing his tyres. A quirk of the sprint qualifying regulations had opened up a rare option for Hamilton and Mercedes to start the race on hard rubber and they had exploited it. They were the only ones who started in the top 10 to do so.

With the effects of dirty air only amplified by the low-downforce nature of the Monza circuit, Mercedes were happy to play a patient game to gain an advantage in the latter part of the race. It was as much a ploy to give Hamilton the best chance to get ahead of Verstappen as it was to try and win the race.

When the drivers’ tyre choices were revealed on the dummy grid, Charles Leclerc behind remarked Hamilton’s selection of hards was a “weird” choice. But as the medium-tyred drivers began to hit trouble, with visible graining forming on the race leaders’ rubber, Mercedes’ strategy appeared to have merits.

“The rears are sliding,” warned second-placed Verstappen as he continued to drift in and out of DRS range of the leading McLaren ahead. But despite the constant presence of the Red Bull in his mirrors, Ricciardo was more than comfortable with the threat posed by Verstappen.

“I think there were definitely laps where I was going too slow, so then I’d pick it up and then just try to find that balance,” Ricciardo explained after the race.

“There were some laps where he pushed up closer but I never really had to properly defend. So he was there, but I knew if I didn’t make a mistake, it was going to be hard for him. Unless he kind of sent a little bit of a ‘Hail Mary’, it was going to be tough for him to pass.”

Ricciardo soaked up pressure from Verstappen
The difficulties Verstappen faced were demonstrated on lap 21 when he took too much speed into the Rettifilo chicane, forcing him to abandon over the escape road to the inside, dropping half a second to the leader.

McLaren knew that whatever they did with their pit strategy, Red Bull would do the opposite. So it was little surprise to see Verstappen continue on and inherit the lead when Ricciardo pitted for hard tyres at the end of lap 22. While it wasn’t the quickest tyre change executed by the McLaren pit crew this season, their chances of keeping the lead remained promising. Ricciardo was immediately four tenths of a second faster on his fresh hards in the middle sector than Verstappen was on old, grainy mediums.

“My tyres are fucked,” came Verstappen’s frank assessment when ordered to push.

Any slim chance that Verstappen had of resuming ahead of Ricciardo at his stop evaporated with a lengthy delay on his right front tyre. When he eventually rejoined the track, he was not surprised to learn that the rear wing of the McLaren he was now staring at ahead of him belonged not to Ricciardo, but to Lando Norris, who had also pitted. “I can see that, for fuck’s sake,” Verstappen replied, unimpressed.

Released from behind Norris, Hamilton was now in the lead of the race. But rather than pushing much further into the race to potentially attack Norris and Ricciardo, Mercedes’ focus was squarely on the opportunity that had just been presented to them to leap ahead of Verstappen.

Pitting at the end of lap 25, Hamilton’s stop was neither terrible, nor good. As he rejoined the circuit, Norris slipped by to retake his position ahead of the Mercedes, with Verstappen mere metres behind. The two championship rivals entered the braking zone for the Rettifilo side-by-side, with both equally aware that whoever exited ahead would most likely leave Monza in possession of the lead of the world championship.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crash, Monza, 2021
The crash that defined the race – and the title fight
Hamilton held the inside and refused to yield.

Verstappen held the outside and refused to yield.

Contact.

The sight of Verstappen’s Red Bull bouncing into the air before crashing down on top of the Mercedes may well become one of the iconic images of this season or even of this era of the sport – but it was no less ugly for it.

As both rivals eventually climbed out of their cars and walked back to their garages with neither now taking a point from the other, the battle for this year’s championship appeared to have become even more intense than it had been before that afternoon.

Whether Hamilton, Verstappen, or the ridiculously narrow and awkward Rettifilo chicane itself was predominately to blame for the collision is a debate that will still be raging when the sport arrives in Sochi the following fortnight – but it also mattered little to the 16 drivers remaining in the race.

What was of far more pressing relevance to the field was the deployment of the Safety Car – especially for the seven drivers who were yet to stop. Suddenly, McLaren realised their lead was under very real threat for the first time.

“So, Leclerc is in our Safety Car window, Daniel,” Stallard warned his driver. “You need to minimise the lines and have the delta close to zero.”

Leclerc immediately pitted from the lead, but McLaren could breathe a deep sigh of relief when he rejoined behind Ricciardo in second place – just five seconds having been the difference in the end allowing Ricciardo to retain the net lead.

Norris restored McLaren’s one-two at the restart
Ricciardo and Leclerc were followed in the Safety Car train by Norris, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Valtteri Bottas – the latter three having all made their stops when the safety car had been deployed.

With all cars in the top 10 bar Bottas on fresh hard tyres, the second half of the race was shaping up to be a straight sprint to the line. But no one was feeling more confident about their chances of winning than leader Ricciardo.

“When we came back out in the lead I was like ‘all right, we’ve got this today’,” Ricciardo said after the race. “‘Unless something unfortunate happens, we can really win this race.’”

Once the remains of the championship rivals’ vehicles was removed, the race restarted at the end of the 30th lap.

Ricciardo tried to break the tow to Leclerc behind, but the Ferrari driver was more preoccupied with the McLaren behind than the one in front. Maximising his straight-line speed by straying beyond track limits at the final corner, Norris had a go to the inside of the Ferrari into the Rettifilo chicane, but Leclerc defended strongly.

Perez was penalised for illegal pass on Leclerc
Norris got a far better exit and benefited from strong slipstream and bravely stuck his nose to the inside of the Ferrari as they rounded Curva Grande. Despite putting two wheels on the grass, Norris somehow found the space to make the move work, jumping into second place to see McLaren leading one-two for the first time in over a decade.

Leclerc was now under heavy pressure from Perez in fourth and was again having to take a defensive stance approaching the Roggia chicane. Perez took to the outside before finding, as so many drivers do, that there is barely enough room for two Formula 1 cars in the same chicane. Perez bailed out of the corner, bouncing over the kerbs and into third place. While it appeared certain the Red Bull would have to hand the position back to the Ferrari, Perez stubbornly stayed ahead, claiming he had been forced into the manoeuvre.

Any opportunity Perez had to redress the illegally-gained place was complicated when Bottas passed the Ferrari within the next lap. Bottas had risen rapidly through the field from the rear of the grid – already up to 11th place by the 11th lap – and had been given a gift with the timing of the safety car. Now, the medium-shod Mercedes was just over three seconds of race leader Ricciardo and looking like a true danger to McLaren’s hopes of victory.

“With Bottas looking quick,” Stallard explained to Ricciardo, “we think the best thing is to be as quick as you can to the end of the race and just pull a gap on these cars behind if possible.”

But if he was to challenge the McLarens, Bottas would have to navigate past Perez in third. The Red Bull driver’s chances of a podium appeared to be all but over after the stewards had awarded him a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage. However, Bottas still needed to physically pass the Red Bull to have a chance at attacking the McLarens.

As Bottas laboured behind Perez, McLaren were increasingly aware that not just a race win but a one-two was now a very real possibility. The magnitude of the achievement within his team’s grasp did not escape second-placed Norris, even in the face of a potential first career victory.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Monza, 2021
Norris held position behind Ricciardo
“Do you think it’s best for us if I stay like this, stay where I am?” Norris asked his team.

McLaren agreed. “Lando, best for us, where you are,” they responded. “Hold position, hold position.”

Bottas eventually caught up to the back of Perez on lap 43, forcing an error into the first chicane which left him exposed through Curva Grande. Bottas tried to make the outside stick through the Roggia chicane and succeeded – but Perez was able to take a far tighter line and gain far greater momentum on exit to retake the position on-track. That was as close as the Mercedes would come to dispatching the Red Bull for the remainder of the race.

As the laps ticked down, the instructions from the tense McLaren pit wall became more and more scarce. It had been so long since McLaren had been able to celebrate a win that many of the team’s members had never gotten to experience that sensation before.

But perhaps the one person in the team who knew that winning feeling best was also the one in the lead of the race. Ricciardo was not only staring at his eighth career victory, but his first outside of the Red Bull racing syndicate and, with it, personal vindication for daring to seek an horizon beyond Milton Keynes three years ago.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Monza, 2021
McLaren had waited almost nine years for a win
As he exited the Alboreto corner for the final time and took the chequered flag, fists pumping in the cockpit, Ricciardo had ended the longest win drought that one of the sport’s most successful teams had ever endured. And when team mate Norris crossed seconds later, he secured the team their first one-two since the Canadian Grand Prix in 2010.

“Thank you, guys and girls.” Ricciardo radioed, savouring the familiar feeling. “Fucking dominated.”

And dominated he had. From taking the lead at the start, Ricciardo had never been forced to defend his lead on the circuit and had been able to dictate his own pace as required. Underlining his pace in hand, he had even set the fastest lap on his final tour of the afternoon. Quite the turnaround for the man who had been so consistently out-performed by his younger team mate throughout the first half of the season.

“Everyone’s been aware of some of the struggles that I’ve had this year,” Ricciardo afterwards. “I think to come back from that – not only to win, but as a team to get a one-two – I don’t know, it’s just crazy.”

As a home-grown McLaren talent, Norris was able to put aside his personal ambitions as a racing driver and appreciate what a moment it was for the team that had believed so much in him.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Monza, 2021
The mile-wide smile is back
“To be honest I don’t know what it means to me,” said Norris. “The main thing it means to me is our resolve as a team. Whether I’m second, third or first, I think the best thing is having that one-two for the team and securing maximum points and it’s just such a cool feeling to be part of this.”

With Perez’s penalty dropping him behind Bottas and Leclerc, Bottas had inherited a podium place. That was some small consolation prize after what had been his strongest race weekend of the season.

“Overall I did everything I could today and this weekend overall. So, for that, I’m happy,” he said.

But even if he had passed Perez, Bottas doubted he would have been able to deny McLaren their one-two victory.

“Honestly, they’ve been strong all weekend and they have their strengths, especially on the straight line. Yesterday Lewis was trying everything he could but couldn’t get by so I honestly think it was the maximum today we could reach.”

Leclerc took fourth for Ferrari ahead of Perez demoted to fifth. Sainz was fortunate to avoid damage in the clash with Giovinazzi on the opening lap to finish sixth – happy for his former McLaren team mates but recognising how the result was the worst possible for him current outfit.

Lance Stroll finished in seventh ahead of Fernando Alonso, with George Russell securing his third points finish in four races in ninth and Esteban Ocon taking the final point in tenth.

As much as this race will be remembered for a potentially season-defining collision between the two championship protagonists, Ricciardo and McLaren’s achievement should not be overshadowed by it. Not just for securing a historic victory, but for doing so on merit.

For Ricciardo, the poignancy of joining the hallowed list of names to have won in a McLaren was not lost on him.

“When I think ‘McLaren’, I think of Senna,” he said. “That’s the early memories.

“I’ve seen the trophies in the cabinet at the McLaren Technology Centre. And to have a winning trophy now with my name in pretty much the same cabinet is crazy.”

And with how McLaren have shown such considerable and consistent improvement over recent seasons, who’s to say that trophy cabinet will not start to grow a little more in the years to come.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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36 comments on “Ricciardo didn’t need title rivals’ latest clash for stunning Monza win”

  1. Refreshing review. While very other article is just focused on Hamilton vs Max, great to see the focus on the Mclaren victory here.
    Flawless execution by Mclaren today. This is what Ferrari needed to have done in Monaco, but they didn’t.

    The end of this championship is going to be too intense!
    1) Hamilton vs Max is getting uglier
    2) Bottas seems to have got an extra gear after knowing of his axing
    3) Ricciardo is finally back to his true self
    4) Ferrari still have that engine update to come
    5) The fight for 3rd between the 2 oldest names will likely go right down to the wire.

    1. very true… it will be an thrilling end of the season, I believe down to the last race where every episode will make a difference.

      1. Would be refreshing if so cause ferrari’s challenge in effect ended far earlier both years.

    2. 1. Agree
      2. Quali he was ok but race? I don’t think so. He overtook much slower cars but not Redbull, with tyre advantage. Perez wasnt fast either, he didn’t really pressure Norris who Ham was able to pressure and almost overtake, with tyre disadvantage.
      3. He lost quali to Norris, didn’t overtake anyone and looked slower than Norris. Considering starts are a gample- Ric made his weekend by being lucky at both starts.
      4. They do but they are lacking elsewhere… 2022 best hope
      5. This fight is arguably more interesting than top 2

      1. @ivan-vinitskyy

        He lost quali to Norris

        By miliseconds.

        didn’t overtake anyone and looked slower than Norris

        He scored the fastest lap point in the end, so if he was slower it was definitively not by much this time.

        Considering starts are a gample- Ric made his weekend by being lucky at both starts.

        Starts are not only a matter of luck, there’s also technique. If race starts were random you’d expect drivers gaining and losing positions equally by chance given a certain amount of time. It’s clearly not what happens. Not coincidence either that the majority of the best drivers overall are also the best starters and usually the most skillful ones in overtaking as well
        Having said that, I agree that people are jumping too many conclusions from Ricciardo’s feel-good story at Monza. He drove well and won completely on merit, but it doesn’t mean his struggles of adjusting his driving style to McLaren won’t continue for this season, even if to a lesser extent after this big confidence boost. Fans do like to draw definitive conclusions from transitory situations, and usually they get it wrong way more times than they correctly predict things with such bold statements. They get too much attached to trends that might just fade quickly, and then some are keen to pretend they’ve never said anything of this sorts!

        Reply moderated
        1. @rodewulf It may have been ms but considering overtaking a massive struggle these days that’s worth a lot. Chamionships were lost because of 1 position on the track.
          As for starts, that’s exactly what we are seeing… drivers starting very well and then very poorly… I can’t really single out a single driver who’s always good. All starting stats tell us is who starts where and whether there’s a long straight to get the tow. They are practice starts, they all have no real idea what grip levels are when they drop the clutch, they are committing and then modulating throttle but by that time it’s already too late if your first 5 meters were poor.
          @mickharrold He was in first place. Who was he going to overtake? I’m not saying he should have but I’m saying if he did then we could say “Ricciardo is finally back to his true self”. Because he didn’t, we can’t actually say whether he’s back to his RB form.
          When they were both on full pace at the start, he opened up a 6 second lead. – That’s not him openning up a lead over Norris, that’s Norris defending from Hamilton. And as for controlling pace – Both McLarens were at risk of being attacked had Bottas got past Perez, but despite Norris saying he could go faster Ric didn’t, presumably because he couldn’t… there were good reasons for both Mclarens to go faster. And yes, again, doing good starts twice in a row in nothing when there are 50 starts in a season.

          Reply moderated
        2. @ivan-vinitskyy

          As for starts, that’s exactly what we are seeing… drivers starting very well and then very poorly… I can’t really single out a single driver who’s always good.

          So then check it out:
          https://www.racefans.net/2021-f1-season/2021-f1-statistics/2021-f1-race-data/
          Raikkonen gained 30 positions overall in the race starts (+30 pos. difference). Stroll also passed other drivers many times in lap 1 this season. After Alonso said he’d be in the “dark side” regarding track limits at lap 1, the number of overtakes he made in race starts also increased significantly following the Austrian GP (his staggering 6 overtakes in the first lap of Silverstone sprint race won’t even appear in the data, as it wasn’t the main race, as well as restarts aren’t counted, in which he gained a lot too).
          In the other hand, some other drivers usually lost positions what makes a sizeable deficit on position difference for the starts during a season, like Tsunoda, Russell, Giovinazzi and Hamilton to a lesser extent. It’s clear that it’s not random.

          Reply moderated
      2. 3. He lost quali to Norris, didn’t overtake anyone and looked slower than Norris. Considering starts are a gample- Ric made his weekend by being lucky at both starts.

        Wow you are hurting aren’t you?

        He lost qually to Norris. Yes, by the smallest of margins.
        didn’t overtake anyone He was in first place. Who was he going to overtake?
        looked slower than Norris Did he? When they were both on full pace at the start, he opened up a 6 second lead. In the second part of the race, he just controlled the race and delivered as much pace as he needed to. He drove smart. On the last lap when both he and Lando had a chance to put in fastest lap, he was faster than Lando. And this despite the fact that Lando had a tow, which was reckoned to be worth 0.5sec per lap around here.
        being lucky at both starts Interesting. Lucky was it. Twice you say. Interesting.

    3. 3) Ricciardo is finally back to his true self

      It’s more the recent tracks flattering him. I’m sure he didn’t fix his issues with the braking just by holidaying.

  2. Great write up, thanks @willwood .

    Awesome weekend, for the championship, more than anything for McLaren and Ricciardo. Great to see Dan back on the top step of the podium, and that feeling of seeing your own name on a trophy at the MTC, spine tingling stuff.

  3. I concur with Ross, a great piece by @willwood – a perfectly charged write up of an emotively charged race!

    If something has clicked with Ricciardo and the McLaren and he can get the most out of it now, the RIC/NOR duo will be force to be reckoned with and podiums should be a regular occurrence.

    It’s been some time since I’ve been excited about the Constructor’s battle between Ferrari and McLaren!

    1. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
      13th September 2021, 9:46

      As much as I hope RIC has gotten to grips with the car, let’s not forget that Monza is a special track, with very few corners and many long straights, so it was easier for RIC in the car.

      I hope next races do show that he has come to terms with the car and can use it to it’s full extent consistently, as NOR has done so far.

      In that case, with two excellent drivers wringing from the car everything it has to offer, McL have a very good chance for 3rd, which will in turn enhance their chances next year, with the budget cap being so important.

      1. I had a similar discussion at home before the race, this race has an absence of Ricciardo’s biggest weakness this season. I hope a combination of understanding the handling better (he was also better at the previous weekend) and the psychological boost of a win will seen him much stronger for the rest of the season.

      2. Agree with that, Ricciardo knows how to drive Monza very well, both for speed and endurance. However confidence in braking seemed to be a big problem and 40 or so attempts at the Rettifilo under pressure – some of them with the car literally squirming its way into the apex would have done that confidence no harm. I doubt he can match Norris’ stellar form this year on tracks he doesn’t know well though.

        Reply moderated
  4. Norris was sulking so much.

    1. did we see the same post race interviews?

    2. What were you watching?

      1. To be honest, I also thought Norris was a bit frustrated after the race. He was obviously pleased for the team, but I think he considers himself to be the faster driver and envisioned that in a 1-2 scenario, he’d be on the top step. His barely coded message to swap positions “for the team” in the race was an obvious hope that they would use team orders to let him take the lead.

        At the time he did seem to have much more pace, but Ricciardo was perhaps not pushing to the limit at that point (he had no need to). Once the team asked him to push he was pretty magnificent.

        I love Norris, and I hope we see him get a win this season too. I hope in the coming years he secures himself a championship also.

    3. @Mathias I think he was disappointed sure but not sulking, he still finished in his best ever place and like every other driver on the grid thinks he can go faster than than his team mate when behind them.
      But the fact is Verstappen could not pass Ricciardo in a car a good second a lap quicker and at the end of the race both Norris and Ricciardo went for fasted lap and Ricciardo came out on top, showing he had pace up his sleeve in case of a challenge.

    4. I got the same sense. I mean he’s been leaving ricciardo in the dust this year but suddenly ricciardo is legitimately faster and takes the first win between them? That’s hard to take.

      I get the sense he is supremely arrogant behind his jokey image. Which I think is about right. You want someone with the aggression and drive of a verstappen or Hamilton but who doesn’t always take himself utterly seriously, because that gets boring and narcissism is toxic in an organization.

  5. Nice review. The real Daniel Ricciardo is finally back. Yeh baby! Took him a while to figure out the McLaren but wow he nailed Monza. I too thought his best was behind him. How wrong I was. Also glad to see McLaren has joined the Mercedes and Red Bull party. Hope it continues for the rest of the season.

    On a sour note not impressed by Verstappen. That crash was the result of an entitlement mentality. He was in denial that Hamilton could take his position after that tardy pit stop. When will Max grow up?

    1. Jason S

      On a sour note not impressed by Verstappen. That crash was the result of an entitlement mentality. He was in denial that Hamilton could take his position after that tardy pit stop. When will Max grow up?

      Perfectly desription of Lewis in Silverstone as well. He and Max won’t give an inch to each other anymore, it’s clear now.

      Reply moderated
  6. True Verstappen and Hamilton and their teams dropped the ball multiple times

    Verstappen had a poor start losing the lead which puts everything on the back foot. From there it just deteriorated further with a bad call not going for the undercut and then a bad stop too. Plus then again not yielding in a lost position taking himself out of the race altogether.

    Hamilton had a good start this time around and probably just should have let Verstappen end their race in lap 1 turn 4. Instead he let Verstappen bully him off again and drop back as a result. A bad pitstop from the team put him in harm’s way and killed an easy P2 and perhaps race win.

    It’s funny how this weekend kept going from “this will be an easy win for Hamilton” to “this will be an easy win for Verstappen” to “This might be a win for Hamilton still” to “Verstappen went for the ‘crash or let me pass’ again and takes both of them out”. In the end it was an easy win for Ricciardo. Unchallenged really during the whole race.

  7. Only team orders could challange Ricciardo win..

    Everything else I agree with the article.

    Bottas, Hamilton struggled to pass fast cars, Verstappen was unable to dent him, especially after that pitstop horrorshow.

    Good times and congratulations to McLaren, seemingly win regardless of what their rivals did.

  8. Mclaren won on merit. From the moment ricciardo had that great start not one car was able to pass him.
    Whatever would have happened behind him, only a brilliant strategy could change the outcome. But lacking this strategy the result was clear..
    The question by Lando, aimed at changing positions was a bit naive.
    Ricciardo never asked to much of the tires and controlled the race.
    Excellent 1,2 for mclaren. Perez again victim of his will to win.
    The best thing was that it was never a boring race.

    1. Red Bull messed up by not taking Verstappen out of the dirty air and conserve the tyres so that he could push harder and longer for the overcut, to not waiting for Ricciardo to get stuck behind people (which they couldn’t do much of because of poor tyres). Ricciardo and McLaren got somewhat lucky there.

      1. @balue

        Red Bull messed up by not taking Verstappen out of the dirty air and conserve the tyres so that he could push harder and longer for the overcut, to not waiting for Ricciardo to get stuck behind people

        That’s nothing to do with luck, that’s a tactical mistake on RBs part.
        Also both Ricciardo and Verstappen did what they do best. Ricciardo stayed out of trouble he drove with his head. Verstappen had another incident he drove with his heart.
        And the winner is…

        1. @johnrkh Eh? I literally said McLaren got lucky that Red Bull messed up.

          Don’t know how you could possibly read that wrong, but when you include an irrelevant incident with Verstappen and another team and something with heart and head, and how Verstappen didn’t have a head it becomes more clear why..

          1. I’m not a big believer in luck @balue it was just a bad call and a mistake by a team member.
            A headless Verstappen mmm, no but Hamilton came close I think.

    2. Absolutely, verstappen looked behind even with a proper pit stop (and hamilton was way too far behind ofc), so they’d have to pass him on track, hard task, agree he won on merit, maybe they wouldn’t have got a 1-2 though.

    3. Did Dan Ric win “on pure pace”? I don’t quite agree (not meaning anything against him, I’m quite happy that he won, and he certainly won on merit, if not “on pure pace”)
      Max was faster, but his start was poor, and then only a mistake by DR would have given him a chance to get ahead before the pitstop lottery. But there can be little doubt that had Max started well enough to reach Rettifilo first, he would have left DR well behind, easily 10 or 15 seconds before the pitstops. Not a particular merit of Max, the RBR was simply faster.

      Valtteri Bottas also clearly had more pace, but did not have much of a chance starting from the back of the grid. He was able to DRS through the slower guys but was not enough of a racer to challenge for the win, even with a convenient SC.

      Max did a number of mistakes. The start, to begin with. With a proper start he would have had 90% of an easy win already done.

      Then he kept pushing for a pass on DR when it was clearly useless and a waste of tyres in the dirty air, he should have kept his distance, waiting for a chance.

      The the g_dawful pitstop, but it was not his fault.

      But Max’s really big mistake was in lap 1 T4, della Roggia Chicane. I had predicted that Sir MF would not have the nerve to show up in Max’s exterior after the Silverston enormity. Well I was wrong, it did. and Max had the chance to push it out. And did, but just a bit, with no consequences. Max, you should have done it all the way to Sheol.

  9. Great write up. That’s why I’m come here (and endless keyboard battles whenever Hamilton does or says something lol).

  10. He really needed a good result. Many Rumors were going the rounds. That he would be let go a year before his contract expired.

    1. And get into a somewhat worse situation than Redbull with just a star in a difficult car? I doubt Seidl is that dim.

      Reply moderated
  11. It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out at McLaren moving forward. This reminds me a bit of Leclerc Monza 2019. I think that was the pivotal moment where Leclerc won the team over Vettel.

    This is McLaren’s Monza and Ricciardo put his shoe all over it. I do wonder if Norris will be looking back 10 years from today and thinking to himself, “if only I’d pushed for the victory there”.

    When it mattered, Ricciardo delivered and all has been forgiven.

    1. Nah, it’s not the same thing, leclerc was asserting his superiority over vettel, whereas ricciardo had a good comeback here, norris is still performing at leclerc level, not vettel.

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