It has been an extraordinarily busy, and now dramatic week for Formula 1, as the iconic Monza circuit witnessed McLaren take first and second place after a serious crash between Lewis Hamilton and his young rival, Max Verstappen paved the way on Sunday, September 12.
Title protagonists Hamilton and Verstappen came alongside one another on the 26th lap, and the pair made contact as the Mercedes and Red Bull squeezed into the Variante del Rettifilo. The contact seemed to have launched Verstappen into the air and over Hamilton, as they both ground to a halt in the gravel ahead.
Both drivers were unhurt, but their race ended there. Had it not been for the halo that protected Hamilton’s head, the outcome could have very well been severely different.
The nasty collision may have cleared the way for the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, but Ricciardo’s win was certainly deserved, as the speedy Aussie passed Verstappen to claim the lead right at the beginning of the race.
After the crash midway through, Ricciardo was able to secure his eighth career victory, and McLaren’s first race win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. Just behind him was Norris, who was delighted with his best-ever race finish of second place.
Having started in 19th place on the grid, a colossal drive from Valtteri Bottas saw the soon departing Mercedes man finish in third place. Bottas continues to impress after his victory in the inaugural sprint race at Monza on the day before this hectic 2021 Italian GP.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez crossed the line in third place, but a five second penalty saw him drop to fourth place, just ahead of Charles Leclerc in fifth place. Meanwhile, Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz finished in sixth place in his first race with Ferrari at Monza.
All in all, it was a fantastic day for the whole McLaren team, but one that was marred by the crash between the two title rivals, from which Verstappen will be handed a three place grid penalty for the upcoming Russian GP at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday, September 26.
Featured image courtesy of @F1 on Twitter