McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix after a frightening fall between title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Red Bull’s Verstappen turned to Hamilton’s side as the two fought for position, the rear of Verstappen’s car landing on Hamilton’s Mercedes, the halo head protector possibly saving the seven-time champion from an injury.
Both retired, stranded in the gravel, meaning Verstappen remains five points ahead of Hamilton in the title race.
Ricciardo’s British teammate Lando Norris finished second after a brilliant late pass, giving the team a first double since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix and their first victory in nearly a decade.
Ricciardo yelled over the team radio as he crossed the line: “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
How did Verstappen end up on top of Hamilton?
After Ricciardo got off to a flying start from second on the grid, Verstappen fell back to second, as Hamilton battled with Norris for third after failing to earn a spot.
As the race seemed to settle into a pattern where the two title rivals were held back by a McLaren, Verstappen responded to Ricciardo’s first pit stop by entering and suffering a slow 10 second pit stop with what appeared to be to be a badly positioned forward. right wheel.
At the same time, Hamilton was busy overtaking Norris – as he was enjoying a start to the race on hard gum tires, with all the other leaders on worn mids – and then came for his stop.
But he also suffered a late stoppage and the pair ran into each other on the right track as Hamilton left the pits. The Briton held the inside line and Verstappen refused to give in on the outside as he entered the Rettifilo chicane at slow speed.
Verstappen was over half the length of a car by Hamilton, but was pushed off the track and as his Red Bull bounced off the sidewalks, a spinning rear wheel threw him into the air and the overturned on Hamilton’s car before bumping into the airbox which sits just above the driver’s head.
The car’s flat chassis slid over Hamilton’s cockpit and appeared to come into contact with the halo head protector introduced in F1 in 2017 after the deaths of Jules Bianchi in F1 and Justin Wilson in the American Indy car. in 2015.
The two drivers were summoned by the race marshals to discuss the incident, and penalties could be imposed.
A different version of events
Hamilton then told Sky Sports: “I’m a little stiff and sore in my neck because [Max’s tyre] landed on my head but it will be okay.
“The stop was slow and I wasted a few seconds – I got out, I saw Daniel [It was Norris] pass, Max was coming in and I made sure to leave the width of a car outside.
“I was in front in the first corner, then in the second corner, then Max was on top of me.
“It’s exactly the same scenario that happened at turn four [at Imola earlier in the season] where I was in the same position as Max and gave in was racing – this time he didn’t want to give in.
“He knew what was going to happen as soon as he stepped over the curb, but he didn’t back down – I don’t know what else to say.”
Verstappen said: “We knew it was going to be tight. I went around the outside and he kept hugging me. I just wanted to run. People are going to start talking about Silverstone but I wasn’t expecting to keep squeezing and squeezing because we would still have had the width of a car in turn two.
“I don’t know why he kept pushing wider and wider.
“You need two people to work together to make the corner work, but unfortunately we have touched each other. If one guy is not willing to work, it won’t happen.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened today, but I think we’re professional enough to get past it. I think we can definitely talk about it.”
An incredible feat for a growing team
The event in Monza took place in hot and dry conditions in the Italian region of Lombardy, near Milan, on a track affectionately known as the “Cathedral of Speed”, due to its rich history of sport. automobile and its old disused bank corners nestled among the trees in the magnificent Royal Palace of Monza. to park.
Verstappen, who started on pole, was expected to win – according to Hamilton – an “easy win”, especially with Hamilton only fourth after a poor start in Saturday’s qualifying “sprint” race to decide on the grand prize grid.
But both McLaren drivers held on after a strong start and Ricciardo continued after Hamilton’s pitstop, and subsequent entanglement with Verstappen. Norris had lost in the pit stops and was behind Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari when the race resumed after the extended safety car period.
The Briton followed Leclerc in the start-finish straight line then surprised the Monegasque by rushing into the grass around the Curva Grande, overtaking him from the inside.
Hamilton teammate Valtteri Bottas, who started last due to a powertrain change despite winning Saturday’s sprint qualifying, put in a superb recovery to take last place on the podium, but only after Sergio Perez Red Bull, who finished third on the road, was hit with a five-second penalty for not giving up a place after an illegal pass on Leclerc.
This left Perez fifth in the final standings behind Leclerc, with Carlos Sainz’s second Ferrari sixth, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll seventh, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso eighth and his teammate Esteban Ocon 10th.
Britain’s George Russell, still at the top after the announcement that he Hamilton partner at Mercedes next season, came in ninth to score two more valuable points for Williams.
Pilot of the day
Bottas has been impeccable all weekend, just days after his rejection of Mercedes and his replacement by Russell became public. But Ricciardo’s recovery is arguably greater – a soul lost in a car he just couldn’t figure out all season, the Aussie overtook his top-performing teammate in the sprint race and took a great start on Sunday to overtake a faster driver in a faster car at Verstappen. Hat.
What happens next?
After a thrilling treble in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, a weekend of rest is planned before the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi – where the races could be a little more tame, although relations between the two protagonists of the title may not be.