• Katie Humphris

Daniel Ricciardo wins the 2021 Italian Grand Prix to claim his first win for Mclaren

Mclaren earn their first win since Brazil 2012 and their first 1-2 for 11 years after Daniel Ricciardo claims P1 to earn his first win since 2018, whilst Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crash out.

Following the sprint race on Saturday, all the drivers had the choice of using whatever tyres they wish which lead to everyone opting for the medium tyres, only Mercedes would go for the hard tyre compound. Despite winning the sprint race, Valtteri Bottas would have to start at the back for changing his engine and earning a penalty, leading to Max Verstappen starting on pole position, both McLaren's just behind and Hamilton fourth.

Before the race had started Yuki Tsunoda had to retire with a mechanical problem with his car that would be to unsafe to drive, leaving Piere Gasly the only Alpha Tauri car on the grid but would be starting from the pitlane due to his crash in the sprint.

Daniel Ricciardo got away well and passed Verstappen to take the lead on the first lap with Hamilton passing Lando Norris but after a wheel-to-wheel battle with title challenger, Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton was sent wide allowing Norris to regain P3. In the middle of the pack, it wasn’t a smooth ride for Giovinazzi after he came back onto the track after going wide and would eventually be spun round by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The Spanish driver would not be punished but the Alfa Romeo driver was handed a 5-second time penalty for his unsafe return to the track adding to his misery of losing his front wing. This would lead to a virtual safety car and all drivers having to slow down.

Valtteri Bottas, who had started P19 was already up to P11 by lap 12 as he looked to gain the highest position, he possibly can but he wasn’t the only one completing the overtakes. Nicholas Latifi had gained 4 positions by lap 12 and Sergio Perez gaining 2 places, Sebastian Vettel however dropped 3 positions on the opening lap after contact with his Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll who was running P8. Up at the front Max Verstappen was struggling to gain on Daniel Ricciardo, and the battle behind between Hamilton and Norris was heating up with the seven-time World Champion struggling to find a way pass the Mclaren.

On lap 23 the pits stop began and it was Daniel Ricciardo who was first to come in and a smooth stop allowed an advantage over Red Bull who pitted Verstappen a lap later, but a rare slow stop of 11 seconds caused Verstappen to drop down the grid. Before both Hamiton and Norris pitted, the Mercedes did pass the Mclaren but Lando Norris was called in straight after to swap his medium tyres. 3 laps later, Hamilton pitted who also had a slow stop of 4 seconds meaning he would come out behind Lando Norris but ahead of Max Verstappen.

Verstappen and Hamiton were wheel-to-wheel once again going into the first corner and as Verstappen tried to go through on the inside of Hamilton he made contact with Hamilton, pushing the Red Bull on to the ‘sausage kerb’ lifting the car off the floor eventually landing on top of the Mercedes and both drivers crashing out of the race and bringing out the safety car. Lewis Hamilton had a lucky escape as the Halo device did its job and holding the weight of the car over his head, once again proving the Halo is an important safety device in the sport, which Hamilton praised in his interview. The stewards decided to look at the incident after the race and eventually coming to the conclusion that Max Verstappen was at fault handing him a 3-place-grid penalty for the next race which is in Russia in a couple weeks' time.

During the safety car, drivers who hadn’t pitted took advantage and one driver who was helped out was Charles Leclerc who came out of the pits in P2, between both Mclaren’s. Leclerc wouldn’t keep his position for long as after the restart, Lando Norris would pass the Ferrari making it a Mclaren 1-2. Valtteri Bottas was up to P5 and Perez in P4 who passed the Ferrari but did so when going off the track giving him the advantage. Sergio Perez didn’t give the position back to Leclerc leading him to earn a 5-second-penalty which he would serve after the race. It got worse for Leclerc as he would be passed by Valtteri Bottas moving him up to P4. It wasn’t as easy for Bottas though, it took a few attempts, but he would eventually pass the Ferrari. Meanwhile at the back, the two Haas drivers came into contact with each other, Nikita Mazepin spinning around teammate Mick Schumacher.

Sergio Perez was able to hold off Bottas for the remainder of the race, but Bottas gave it a good go but just couldn’t get his Mercedes pass the Red Bull. The virtual safety car was brought out once again, with Nikita Mazepin having to pull over with engine problems leading to his retirement from the race.

After leading the entire race, Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line to win his 8th Grand Prix and his first with Mclaren, followed by his teammate, Lando Norris to claim his highest finish in F1, with Perez P3 but due to his penalty he would drop to P5 handing Bottas the final Podium place. Leclerc would finish P4 with teammate Carlos Sainz P6, Lance Stroll behind in P7 with Fernando Alonso just behind in P8. George Russell with anotherpoints finish this season to earn P9 and Estaban Ocon to gain the final points finish.