N News & Results

F1 Monza: Ricciardo/Norris Mclaren One-Two; Verstappen/Hamilton crash out together

Monza, Italy, Sept 12/21 (GRW): A race that was supposed to be a battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton turned into a disaster for that pair and produced a one-two result for the McLaren pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. Valtteri Bottas, who had stared dead last because of a fourth engine change worked his way up to fourth at the finish – and that was elevated to third when Sergio Perez was assigned a post-race five-second penalty for a track limits violation.

The starting grid was established on the basis of the finishing order form Saturday’s ‘Sprint’ race. Bottas actually won this race but his engine change sent him to the rear, elevating Verstappen to the pole with an optimistic Ricciardo alongside. Hamilton had finished the heat race in fifth place but he was elevated to fourth alongside Norris for the start.

At the start, ricciardo got the jump on Verstappen into the first turn and he was then the race leader. This established the order as Ricciardo, Verstappen, Norris and Hamilton until the first (and only) cycle of tire changes began on lap 22 of the 53-lap race. Ricciardo came in on lap 22 and emerged in seventh place. Verstappen came in on the next lap but he had a disastrous 11-second pit stop and he came back out in eighth place behind Hamilton.

On the next lap, Verstappen got past Alonso to challenge Hamilton for position – but when he caught Hamilton at the first chicane all hell broke loose. Verstappen nudge up alongside on the left but Hamilton squeezed him over a bit onto the sausage curbing on the inside of the second part of the chicane. The curbing bounced Verstappen up and into Hamilton’s car, his right rear wheel making contact with Hamilton’s left rear and the classic result – Verstappen’s car launched up and over on top of Hamilton’s car – resulted. With the two cars locked together like that they slid off the course to the right and came to a stop – the race over for both of them.

Fortunately, neither was injured in an accident that might have had serious consequences for Hamilton. After a moment Verstappen got out and walked away; a few beats later Hamilton did the same – and the both walked back to the pits 100 metres or so away.

Of course, this brought out the Safety Car and after the wreckage was cleared, racing resumed. Now the order was Ricciardo, Norris, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz and Bottas (in sixth place – not bad for someone who had been at the back of the field not that many laps earlier).

It goes without saying that, had Verstappen not been held up by that very slow pit stop, he would not have come out behind Hamilton, and things might have gone much differently

Now with half the race distance completed and the scheduled pits stops done with, the race settled down to a fight among the remaining protagonists. Leclerc fell back moving Perez up into third place and Bottas into fourth as of lap 34.

After that, despite everyone’s best efforts, there were no more changes on the track among the front runners. Perez incurred a five-second penalty for going beyond track limits and ‘gaining an advantage’. The argument seemed to be that, even though he had dropped back in behind Norris when he short-cutted the chicane, he came right out on his tail and he should have dropped back more before resuming his chase of Norris (a tricky call, IMHO).

Ricciardo said, “It was never a guarantee we would lead the whole race, but I was able to hold firm out front the first stint. I don’t think we had like mega speed, but it was enough to keep, obviously, Max behind. To lead literally from start to finish, I don’t think any of us expected that. I don’t know there was something in me on Friday, I knew something good was to come, so let’s just say that”.

As I write this, I am still waiting for the official race results and points standings but, given the retirements of Hamilton and Verstappen, the driver points standings will remain the same at the top – Verstappen leading Hamilton by five points and well ahead of the third-place Bottas. One might speculate that, given the presumed advantage of Mercedes over Red Bull at Monza, the no-points outcome helped Verstappen in his quest for the championship.

Apparently, Verstappen has been found guilty of the crash and he will be given a three-place grid penalty at the next GP – Russia.

There are eight (or is it seven?) more race remaining in the 2021 F1 championship contest and the two protagonists leave Monza essentially neck-and-neck. It has been quite a while since we have seen such a closely fought championship title race. And how long has it been since we saw McLaren achieve such a result? (The one-two was McLaren’s first since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix and the team’s first win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.)

The next F1 race will be held at Sochi in Russia in two weeks time, Sunday, September 26th.

• Click HERE for the race results

-30-

Popular News

top logo 2018

PRN Motorsport Magazine.

For Canadian Race Fans and Racers

Since 1989

Email:

Info@prnmag.com

Phone:

1-800-667-RACE

Social Links