McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ranks Italian Grand Prix win as good as any

Motorsport

After having a full week to let his Italian Grand Prix triumph sink in, Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has revealed his Monza victory ranks “as good as any” among his career wins.

Ricciardo broke an agonising drought stretching back to May 2018 when he took the chequered flag in Monza early last Monday morning (AEST), edging McLaren teammate Lando Norris and MercedesValtteri Bottas.

It was the 32-year-old’s eighth grand prix win and his first since taking victory in Monaco in 2018.

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“As good as any, as good as any,” Ricciardo said in an interview with Roz Kelly on Nine’s Sports Sunday.

“I think the high I got from it – honestly, it matched Monaco, and that one was really special for me.

“(I’m) still kind of just riding the high of the weekend … I haven’t quite come down yet.”

Ricciardo achieved every one of his first seven career wins with Red Bull, beginning with a Canadian Grand Prix victory in 2014.

The Western Australian left Red Bull for Renault after the 2018 season, amid concerns that teammate Max Verstappen was receiving preferential treatment.

But he managed just 54 points for a ninth-placed finish in the 2019 world championship standings, before collecting 119 points for a fifth-placed finish in 2020.

Ricciardo departed Renault after being convinced that he’d have a better chance of winning a world championship title with McLaren.

Not only had McLaren leapfrogged Renault in finishing fourth in the 2019 constructors world championship, McLaren had announced it’d be switching from a Renault engine to the all-powerful Mercedes power-unit for 2021.

But Ricciardo’s move to McLaren would bring more frustration, with the veteran recording just two top-five placings and zero podium finishes over the first 13 rounds of the season.

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Over the same period, junior teammate Norris registered nine top-five placings and three podium finishes.

Ricciardo’s ‘shoey’, understandably, was thoroughly enjoyed.

“It was definitely one of the sweetest ones yet,” Ricciardo said.

“It had been a long time … and this season itself has definitely been my most challenging. So that made the ‘shoey’ and that moment all the sweeter, I would say.”

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When asked what he had learned about himself since his 2018 win in Monaco, Ricciardo answered without hesitation.

“How much I loved it,” Ricciardo said.

“Like some days, for sure, I couldn’t leave the track quick enough on a Sunday. After a bad race … you just want to get out of there and put a bad week away. But what follows a weekend like that, on say a Monday, on a Tuesday, is just an intensity that made me realise just how much I love it.”

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