ROME: Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix in a stunning McLaren one-two at Monza yesterday while Formula One title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton took each other out of the race.
The victory was McLaren’s first 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. “To lead literally from start to finish, I don’t think any of us expected that,” he said.
“To not only win but to get a one-two, it’s insane. For McLaren to be on the podium is huge.”
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.
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.
The Finn finished fourth on track but Red Bull’s Sergio Perez ahead of him had a five second penalty that dropped the Mexican down to fifth with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fourth.
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 rear tyre hitting the champion’s head.
The halo protection device, a titanium ring around the cockpit, took most of the impact in the crash.
“Honestly, I feel very, very fortunate today,” he added. “Thank God for the halo. That ultimately saved me. And saved my neck. I think in the actual moment it was a big hit, but all I could think was to get going again.”
A few hours after the accident, Hamilton, 36, said his neck was hurting.
“I will probably need to see a specialist to make sure I’m good for the next race because it is getting tighter and tighter. But I’ll live,” he said.
Verstappen walked away from his car, uninjured. Race stewards found him “predominantly to blame” for the accident and assessed a three-place grid penalty for the September 26 Russian Grand Prix.
“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.
“He just didn’t want to give way today and he knew when he was going into two what was going to happen...but he still did it,” a sore Hamilton told Sky Sports television.
The pair have collided before this season, notably at Hamilton’s own British Grand Prix.