Daniel Ricciardo secured a drought-breaking win in Italy and teammate Lando Norris was thrilled to celebrate the Aussie’s success.
Daniel Ricciardo said he was motivated by some inner “rage” to excel at the Italian Grand Prix as emotions continue to ride high after his momentous win.
The Aussie F1 star stood on the top step of the podium for the first time since 2018 as McLaren completed a magical 1-2 at Monza after Lando Norris crossed the line in second behind his teammate.
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Starting on the front row of the grid, Ricciardo zipped past former Red Bull colleague Max Verstappen and held on to the lead for the remainder of the race. His cause was helped by Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton both dropping out after a terrifying crash, but the West Australian is adamant he would have claimed top spot even without the incident rubbing out his rivals.
“He (Verstappen) was there but I knew if I didn’t make a mistake it was going to be hard for him to (overtake), unless he kind of sent a little bit of a Hail Mary,” Ricciardo said, as reported by Motorsport.com.
“I pitted and I think everyone else pitted as well, so I think we were all struggling at the same moment. And it was then, when we came back out in the lead, then I was like, ‘Alright, we’ve got this today’. Like unless something unfortunate happens we can really win this race.
“That’s when any last bit of belief you need to top it up came, and you’re like, ‘Alright, someone is going to have to take it from me today, because otherwise we’re winning this thing’.”
Ricciardo has endured a rough debut season with McLaren, struggling to come to grips with his new car and regularly falling behind Norris in qualifying and in grands prix. But he stunned everyone during qualifying at Monza to book himself the second spot on the grid.
However, he wasn’t satisfied. Ricciardo admitted there was a sense of “rage” at not being able to go even quicker that spurred him onto bigger things in the main event.
“I’ve always loved this track, it’s always been a fun one, it’s one that I typically gelled well with, and then that combined with feeling better, you know, with the car more recently and feeling a bit more comfortable and confident with it,” Ricciardo said.
“Plus, I think with Friday being so close, I don’t know, sometimes I just get angry, like the top three was so close and I think my lap was OK. But there’s always parts where you’re like, ‘I could have done better’.
“Sometimes I just flip. I certainly have a bit of rage and, as I said at the time, I think it will be a blessing in disguise. I think I used it to my advantage for the rest of the weekend.”
Why Norris didn’t overtake Ricciardo
Norris is yet to win an F1 race and would have been desperate to cross the line first, but McLaren told him over the team radio to hold his position and remain in second to avoid any potential risks associated with an overtake.
The young Brit happily obliged and was thrilled for Ricciardo after the race. He said he was content not to try a passing move on his stablemate because he was wary after witnessing Verstappen and Hamilton crash while racing wheel-to-wheel.
“I got a bit closer on one lap and I just — I don’t know why — I had a few flashes seeing the incident between Max and Lewis because I saw it quite well in my mirrors,” Norris said.
“So when I thought maybe I’ll try (to pass Ricciardo), that was flashing up in my head and I thought, ‘Nah, maybe this isn’t the wisest decision’.”
Norris added: “As much as I would have loved to go for the win, just finishing first and second, I’m just as happy with.
“The feeling I get for the win is the priority over my own feeling in a way.
“I’m here for many years, I hope, especially with McLaren and with the whole team, so I feel like I still have an opportunity in the future to try and go for it.
“But in this moment and instance, I was happy just staying where I was.”
Ricciardo’s emotional Instagram posts
An emotional Ricciardo was on the verge of tears after the race as he reflected on his biggest result in three years — one that helps erase some of the pain from a torrid first half of the year that had people questioning whether he’d made the right move to leave Renault for McLaren.
In a series of Instagram posts on Monday night and Tuesday morning, the 32-year-old told his followers he was still digesting the significance of his victory.
“Worth every bad day and more,” he captioned one image on his Instagram story.
In other posts, Ricciardo added: “Still trying to come down from yesterday. Think this one’s gonna take some time.
“There’s a lot of people to thank but first this one’s for @McLaren. It’s been a long time coming for them and to join this team and have the level of support they’ve given me has been amazing and I thank every member of the team.
“This sport means a lot to us and yesterday was damn magical. Thank you.”
On Twitter, Ricciardo wrote: “F***. Couldn’t really sleep. Still floating for the overwhelming number of messages thank you. Did we win Monza @McLarenF1????????”