Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix for McLaren, but the Australian’s excellent victory was overshadowed by a major clash between championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Both drivers were eliminated from the race in an accident that had the potential to be fatal.
Lando Norris was second to secure a McLaren one-two, Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, Charles Leclerc fourth for Ferrari and Sergio Pérez fifth for Red Bull.
It was a celebratory event for McLaren with his first victory since Jenson Button took the flag in Brazil in 2012 and his first double since Canada in 2010. Ricciardo has not won before at Monza, it is his first victory for McLaren, his first since Malaysia in 2016 and the eighth of his career.
Yet it was behind him that the real drama unfolded. After a hectic start, the race had leveled off with the pit stops, as Hamilton and Verstappen once again faced off. They had a major incident at the British GP after which the tension between the pair had increased. After Monza it will have increased even more. With both cars out, Verstappen has maintained his five-point championship lead.
Hamilton had come out of his pit stop, went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen and the pair entered the first chicane together. Hamilton had the nose ahead, but Verstappen had the pace to try to pass and the pair collided. Verstappen’s car ran over the curbs and collided with Hamilton’s car, both coming to a stop on the gravel, the Red Bull still perched on Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Verstappen immediately got out, looked at Hamilton in his cabin, and strode away. The accident may have been life-threatening. Verstappen’s car had passed over the rear of Hamilton’s with its right rear tire rolling over the anti-roll ring and then crucially veered away from Hamilton’s head by the halo cockpit protection device, proving once again definitely its worth. Hamilton remained in the car but later emerged unscathed. The incident will be investigated after the race.
Ricciardo took the lead from Verstappen with a great start at the opening chicane when Hamilton also passed Norris for third, then attempted to round the outside of Verstappen at Variante Roggia. The pair touched, not for the first time this season and not for the last time in the race to come, Hamilton stepped over the curbs and Norris took third again. “He pushed me a lot,” the world champion told his team, but he didn’t seem to have enough of an advantage to make the play stick.
After the frenzied opening, Ricciardo, leading a race for the first time this season, was enjoying the experience. Verstappen remained on his tail as the four forwards carved a gap to the field, separated by just over four seconds with the McLarens displaying impressive speed in a straight line. With Verstappen unable to pass, his possible gallop up front was hampered.
Hamilton, however, was the only leader who had started on the hard tire and had to go further. However, he was pressuring Norris, who defended himself firmly. Monza, as has often been the case with this generation of cars, was proving to be a difficult prospect to overtake.
The front four were six seconds behind when McLaren faced Ricciardo on lap 23 to take the hard rubber. Verstappen was left out, as Red Bull appeared to outpace the Australian. However, his pit stop was shocking, he was in the box for 11.1 seconds with a problem with his right front and overtime had put him directly in Hamilton’s path.
On the same lap, Hamilton had passed Norris on the outside of Roggia to take third place and then pitted on lap 26. He came out adjacent to Verstappen and the pair joined in.
The safety car unfolded and the race resumed on lap 30, with Norris magnificently taking second from Leclerc via Big Turn with an absolutely gutsy move to turn it into a McLaren one-two.
The pair held their spots with control and determination to close out a major celebratory victory, while behind the scenes reports, investigations, and undoubtedly another war of words were just beginning in a title fight that had once again raged. become physical.
Carlos Sainz was sixth for Ferrari, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in seventh. Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were in eighth and tenth for Alpine and George Russell in ninth for Williams.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism