By Myanna Wedes
The 2021 Italian Grand Prix was a thrill with so much drama and also an unexpected race victor! We had Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collide, we had Lando Norris try to win by asking for team orders and Daniel Ricciardo stood tall crying after winning for the first time in a long time. This is also one of the most talked-about races after Verstappen hit Hamilton landing on top of his car and not looking to see if the British driver was alright after being hit in the head by the Red Bull car. This resulted in a penalty for Verstappen provided to him by the Stewards shortly after the race result. A three-grid place penalty for the next event.
Was this enough for such driving behaviour? We would love to hear your thoughts because no doubt social media is blowing up.
We must say that the dominance of McLaren this weekend was well deserved. The way Ricciardo carried himself from race start throughout the challenges of the DNF’s taking place around him and pressure from his teammate was sensational. His start going past Verstappen was magic and the first time he was leading a race since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He remained calm and confident the entire time which allowed him to bathe in the glory of winning helping to secure a strong 1-2 finish with teammate Norris frustrated he was not the one to win. Overall, an amazing weekend for the orange duo.
The journey for Ricciardo at McLaren has been tough with a teammate that feels he is number one and a multi Grand Prix winner like Ricciardo there to work together as a team. Once you let “doubt” creep in and take over, it is very hard to overcome the inner demons that take hold of your thought process. Ricciardo knew the car was going to be different and this weekend, everything just clicked! It was the moment fans, teams, drivers and former team bosses were waiting to see. It really was a lovely moment to see the Australian with Italian heritage win in Italy. This win will propel him forward with belief not only in himself, also the McLaren package because he moved from Red Bull to Renault to McLaren with a desire to win.
With regard to the Hamilton versus Verstappen incident. Both drivers are not likely to yield, though Verstappen is certainly more aggressive and will do whatever he thinks is necessary. He is hungry and sometimes this can be considered a little over the edge. As the pair headed into the Variante del Rettifilo, Verstappen and Hamilton were in line with one another side by side. Who is the one to yield you ask? Well, they made contact and Verstappen’s trajectory hitting the curb launched him into the air slamming into the rollover hoop of Hamilton and coming to a rest on top of the nose cone with a shocked crowd watching on. At this point, we all thought Verstappen would hop out and run across. The opposite happened and it actually did not do him any favours with commentators, fans and the like. If the Halo was not there, the life of Hamilton could have been taken with the downward pressure from the Red Bull car on top of his skull.
In comparison, both teammates of Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez had strong finishes enabling them to continue their own individual Championship goals. Bottas finally showed up though of course, we have to make mention of losing two of the key players and neither driver having to get involved. The incident with Hamilton and Verstappen is now in the history books.
The Italian circuit always seems to deliver a quality event. The year before with Pierre Gasly winning and this year with Ricciardo putting on an amazing display of confidence to find his feet again. Monza time and time again makes you fall in love with the sport because of the passion amongst the crowd, the way the circuit flows, how the drivers react to the corners and push to be the first person across the line to win. It is all heart and soul. When you can handle multiple restarts, manage the expectations of the team, keep your teammate at bay and lead the race with calmness, you deserve the ultimate honour of holding the trophy up and sipping from a lovely boot.!
The papayas are ready to party. They have every right to do so because Ricciardo proved that even when doubt makes itself appear in front of you, remaining focused and confident allowed success to be achieved on a day when no one thought McLaren were going to outpace the Red Bull and Mercedes of Verstappen and Hamilton.
“Crazy, what an awesome day! We really set the tone from the start of the weekend. I think anyone that’s seen the demeanour this weekend, they’re not surprised. I’m really stoked that it turned into a victory. A big thanks to the team. Not only winning, but a one-two’s incredible. A lot of hard work went into this and we really earned it out there. I’m really, really happy.”
“Obviously I’m so pleased for the whole team. It’s such a cool moment for all of us. We’ve done an awesome job from the beginning of the weekend. From practice to qualifying, the decision to use the Soft tyres on Saturday, all of that set us up for today. We didn’t get lucky, we had the pace, we were in the positions we wanted to be. We had to overtake, we had to defend, we had to do everything.
“It’s an amazing result, I’m so happy for everyone. It’s our first one-two in 11 years! Another podium for myself, a win for Daniel, but more importantly a one-two. So that as a combination is the coolest thing in the world. So, huge congrats to everyone and well-deserved.”
“I told the Team that I was going to be on the Podium today so I am glad we did. A great recovery from me, I don’t think I’ve made up that many places in a race in my career. Starting from the back is never easy, and in the end, I am glad we got more points than Red Bull today, especially considering where we were before the race. It was enjoyable out there, some good overtakes and some good racing. The battle with Perez was a good one and I am very happy with my result. Probably one of my better weekends with Mercedes, I think I was strong all weekend so that is very satisfying. Obviously, it is a shame about the crash with Lewis and Max – we lost some important points there. I haven’t really seen the incident properly yet but I am glad to hear he is ok. Now we need to look ahead and I hope to carry this momentum into Russia, a track where I’ve done well in the past.”
“Obviously disappointing for me to end the race in the manner that it did. I though the Team did a great job with the strategy, and we were in a good position until that collision on Lap 26. From what I remember, after I came out of the pits, I saw Max coming and I made sure I left a car’s width on the outside for him. I went into Turn 1 and I was ahead, and I was ahead going into Turn 2, and then all of a sudden, he was on top of me. All in all, not a great end to the weekend for me but it was good to see that Valtteri carried the Team with his amazing recovery drive. Coming from the back all the way to the podium on a track like this is not easy. The Team did a great job and coming away with more points than Red Bull is definitely positive.”
“I think it was clear for Max that his positioning would end in a crash. The stewards have made their decision but it is clear that, without the halo this could have been much worse.”
|1||3||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES||53||1:21:54.365||26|
|2||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||53||+1.747s||18|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA||53||+8.723s||10|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||53||+15.804s||6|
|8||14||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT||53||+17.201s||4|
|9||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||53||+19.742s||2|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||53||+20.868s||1|
|11||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||53||+23.743s||0|
|12||5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||53||+24.621s||0|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||53||+27.216s||0|
|14||88||Robert Kubica||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||53||+29.769s||0|
|15||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||53||+51.088s||0|
|NC||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||41||DNF||0|
|NC||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||25||DNF||0|
|NC||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||3||DNF||0|
|NC||22||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA||0||DNS||0|