Monza once again delivered what may prove to be the most memorable – and significant – race of the season. Max Verstappen entered the Italian GP ahead in the championship, but it was his former Red Bull teammate Daniel Riccardo who had a shock win at Ferrari’s home Grand Prix at Monza.
Instead, Verstappen’s Italian GP ended in a dramatic crash with Hamilton that once again showcased the importance of the halo. How will this crash – and its relating penalty – impact the championship?
The McLaren 1-2 Podium
McLaren had been experiencing a better-than-expected weekend, with both cars ahead of their Ferrari rivals. It was Riccardo’s quick thinking going into turn one that saw him take the lead. His teammate quickly followed behind Verstappen, holding back Lewis Hamilton before the championship rivals having their crash.
McLaren is now the only team to have secured a 1-2 podium for the 2021 season, with Ricardo winning his 8th Grand Prix, while Norris got his first P2 finish. The iconic ‘shoey’ made its return to the podium as Riccardo brought back his signature celebratory moment before both Lando Norris and McLaren boss Zac Brown joined in with the fun.
While the crash between Hamilton and Verstappen will dive fans, the return of Daniel Riccardo to the podium was universally applauded by F1 fans. It’s never been a better time to stock up on your McLaren merchandise as the British team make them return to the top step of the podium.
Tensions rise between Hamilton and Verstappen
Verstappen lost out at the start of the race as Riccardo led into turn one, with Verstappen struggling to get close enough to the McLaren to overtake. Red Bull, notorious for their sub-2 second pit stops, experienced a human error that led to an 11-second pit stop that saw Verstappen’s once-guaranteed Monza win slip away.
Hamilton pitted not long after, experiencing his own issues at the pits. It was the delay at both pit stops that led the championship rivals to chase each other into turn one. On lap 26, the championship rivals found themselves in a crash that set Verstappen’s car over the top of Hamilton’s.
The halo has been praised for saving Lewis from a potentially serious injury after the wheel of Verstappen’s car came right above the Mercedes driver’s helmet. Verstappen has been given a 3-place grid penalty and 2 points on his license. Red Bull will now likely use the Russian GP to take their engine penalty and start Verstappen from the back of the grid.
Elsewhere on the grid
Despite winning the sprint race, Bottas found himself at the back of the grid after taking an engine penalty. Despite this, the Mercedes driver quickly pushed his way through the pact and up into the points before the Verstappen-Hamilton crash.
Although he finished P4, Bottas found himself on the podium after Perez received a 5-second penalty for going off the track.
Alpha Taura – the only team to score points in every race – found both their cars out of the race due to mechanical issues. Ferrari experienced a relatively successful weekend, with Leclerc fighting close to the podium places, at one stage running in P2 before finishing P4, with his teammate in P6.
Both Alpines finished in the points at P8 and P10 for Alonso and Ocon respectively, with George Russell continuing his points-run by finishing in P9. Aston Martin had a forgettable weekend, with Stroll finishing in P7, while Vettel finished behind Williams’ Latifi in P12 ahead of both Alfa Romeo and Haas drivers.
The Russian Grand Prix is in less than two weeks, giving you time to show your team spirit with a special edition Max Verstappen t-shirt or Daniel Riccardo special edition baseball cap.