Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has won the Italian Grand Prix in a race marred by world championship leader Max Verstappen and defending champion Lewis Hamilton crashing out in a frightening collision.
It was Ricciardo’s first win since Monaco in 2018 and McLaren’s first win in nearly nine years, since Jenson Button took the chequered flag in Brazil in 2012.
The Western Australian finished 1.747 seconds ahead of McLaren teammate Lando Norris and 4.921 ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who turned in a strong performance after starting from the back of the grid due to a penalty for taking a new engine.
But the biggest talking point of Sunday’s race came on lap 26.
Hamilton had pitted from the lead and returned to the track just in front of Verstappen.
The Red Bull driver tried to come up the inside on a turn as the seven-time champion defended his position.
As the two made contact, Verstappen’s car catapulted onto the top of the Mercedes as both slid into the gravel.
The protective halo ring at the front of Formula 1 car cockpits may have saved Hamilton from serious injury.
“That’s what you get when you don’t leave the space,” said a furious Verstappen over team radio.
Both drivers were able to walk away from their cars though Hamilton took a long time getting out of his, only clambering out after Verstappen had long gone.
The stewards are now investigating the incident.
Ricciardo won the Monza race after a brilliant start allowed him to pass Verstappen, who started from pole position, at turn one.
Behind them Hamilton, who started fourth, managed to pass Norris.
But Hamilton then tried to get around the outside of Verstappen heading into the second chicane and was instead forced off across the grass, allowing Norris to regain his place.
“He (Verstappen) pushed me wide!” Hamilton said over team radio.
Hamilton was then held up by Norris and could only watch in frustration as Ricciardo and Verstappen stretched their advantage lap by lap.
Ricciardo was first to pit, on lap 23, and came out seventh.
Verstappen was struggling with his tyres and stopped on the following lap.
But a botched pit stop that lasted 11.1 seconds saw him come out in 10th and, to make matters worse for the Dutch driver, Hamilton had in the meantime passed Norris to take the lead.
But disaster struck for both drivers shortly afterward.