Daniel conjures up some Monza magic to take P4

Highlights

  • Max suffers early puncture in clash with Massa
  • Daniel rises as high as P3 before his sole pit stop
  • Daniel takes best ever finish at Italian Grand Prix
  • Max recovered to finish in P10

Daniel Ricciardo delivered a stunning Italian Grand Prix drive to rise from 16th on the grid to fourth place at the flag as Max Verstappen recovered from an early puncture to take a point at Monza.

After qualifying second and third respectively, Max and Daniel took engine-related grid penalties overnight and after sanctions had been applied to a host of drivers, Max lined up in P13 on the Monza grid, with Daniel starting in P16.

At the start, polesitter Lewis Hamilton got away well to take the lead ahead of Williams' Lance Stroll and Force India's Esteban Ocon. The young stars' time in the podium positions didn't last long, however, as Valtteri Bottas recovered from a poor start to carve his way back to second place behind his Mercedes team-mate in the opening laps.

Another man on the move was Max. The Dutchman has made a trademark lightning start and by the end of lap one he had climbed to eighth place and was soon on the tail of Felipe Massa's Williams. However, in attempting to get past the Brazilian there was contact and Max suffered a front-right puncture and wing damage. He made his way to the pits for a new nosecone and fresh tyres and rejoined in last place.

Daniel, meanwhile, was making steady but rapid progress, The Australian kept his nose clean at the start and remained in 16th place, but as the danger of trouble in a bunched field disappeared he began to slice through the pack.

By lap 10 he was ninth and after claiming another spot with a brilliantly aggressive move on Force India's Sergio Pérez into the second chicane, the pit stops of rivals ahead vaulted the Aussie event further up the order.

By lap 30 Daniel was in fourth place behind Vettel and when the German dived for the pits to switch to soft tyres on the next tour, the Australian found himself third on the road and in a podium place.

At the front, Hamilton was completely in control, comfortably ahead of team-mate Bottas and more than 20 seconds clear of Vettel at the end of their first stint. The leader then pitted on lap 32 for softs and Bottas did the same a lap later.

Daniel, though, continued to push on and on lap 35 he was 8.7s ahead of Vettel and 20 seconds clear of fifth-placed Räikkönen.

On lap 37 he became the last of the frontrunners to visit the pits and an incredibly swift 2.2s stop for soft tyres put him back on track, just 2.6s behind Räikkönen.

Armed with fresher tyres the Australian hunted the Finn down and on lap 41 he pounced, blasting past the Ferrari driver into the first chicane in another aggressive but clinical overtaking move. He then set off after Vettel, lapping a second quicker than the German.

Ricciardo's pursuit of a podium place was the most diverting element of what otherwise was a procession at the front. On lap 45 Daniel set the quickest time of the race to that point, a lap of 1:23.748. Again it was a second quicker than Vettel and the gap between the former Red Bull team-mates shrank to 8.7s.

Thereafter Daniel rattled off a sequence of purple laps to close to within five seconds of the German with four laps remaining. Vettel responded in the last two laps and a personal best widened the gap to 4.8s and he sealed the podium spot.

Ahead, Hamilton secured his 59th career win, 4.4s ahead of Bottas and some 36s ahead of Vettel.
Behind Daniel, Räikkönen finished in P5. Ocon took sixth place ahead of Stroll, while Felipe Massa was eighth in the second Williams. Perez was ninth for Force India and after his initial woes, Max recovered to take the final point on offer with tenth place.

 

 
OUR RACE IN NUMBERS:

4 – is Daniel's best ever finishing spot at the Italian GP. He previously finished fifth in 2014 and 2016.

1:23.361 – The fastest race lap of the Italian Grand Prix, set by Daniel Ricciardo.

212 – Points. Today's result cements the team's third place in the Constructors' standings. We now have 212 championship points, over a century clear of Force India.

4 – Fourth-placed Daniel extends his Drivers' standings lead over Kimi Räikkönen by two points. He's now six clear of the Finn.