Ricciardo wins Italian Grand Prix

Monday 13 September, 2021
Daniel Ricciardo secured his first victory in more than three years. (Photos: Mercedes and McLaren Media)
Daniel Ricciardo has picked up his first Formula 1 win in more than three years after producing a faultless performance during the 2021 Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

It was the perfect weekend from the West Australian, who led every lap of the race before becoming the first McLaren driver to win a Grand Prix since Jenson Button in 2012.

With Ricciardo crossing the finish line ahead of teammate Lando Norris in second place, it was McLaren’s first one-two in a race since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Having qualified in P5 on Friday, Ricciardo had a fantastic run in Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying to move up to P3, before being elevated to the front row after Valtteri Bottas was demoted due to an engine change.

When it came to the race, a brilliant start from the 33-year-old saw him take the lead from Max Verstappen ahead of the first corner.

In what turned out to be a chaotic race for the second consecutive year, Ricciardo remained calm throughout all 52 laps, as he was forced to defend his lead on multiple occasions.

From defending Verstappen during the first stint of the race, to holding off Ferrari's Charles Leclerc after the safety car restart, which followed a dramatic crash between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Ricciardo showed plenty of class to storm home to his first win since the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018.

It's been a difficult season for Ricciardo since joining McLaren from Alpine at the start of the year, however the Australian was thrilled to break the drought and claim the eighth win of his career.

"To be honest, even if we got the start, it was never a guarantee we would lead the whole race," Ricciardo said.

"To lead literally from start to finish, I don't think any of us expected that.

"The August break was good just to reset.

"I've felt better the last three weekends, and to not only win, but to get a one-two, it's insane."

In addition to his victory, Ricciardo also managed to secure the fastest lap bonus point after pipping Bottas on the final lap - the Fin rounding out the podium after Sergio Perez was handed a five second post-race time penalty.

Gaining 27 championship points in Italy as a result of the win, fastest lap bonus point and for finishing third in the Qualifying Sprint race, Ricciardo has closed the gap on the seventh-placed Carlos Sainz to just 14.5 points.

The FIA Formula 1 World Championship has a week off before heading to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix on 26 September. 

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