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Formula 1

Ricciardo reveals when he knew Italian GP victory was possible

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo has revealed the moment he knew that victory at Monza was within his grasp, as he returned the team to the top step of the podium after a nine-year wait.

Ricciardo win Monza
Article
To news overview © McLaren

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has explained the moment he realised he could win the Italian Grand Prix, after leading in the opening stages of the race.

Ricciardo weathered constant pressure from Red Bull's Max Verstappen early on after making a great getaway from second place on the grid.

However, it wasn't until an aggressive pit-stop call from McLaren resulted in him keeping track position ahead of the Red Bull that Ricciardo began to believe he could win the race.

"There were some laps where he [Verstappen] pushed up closer, but I never really had to properly defend. He was there, but I knew if I didn't make a mistake it was going to be hard for him to… unless he kind of sent a little bit of a Hail Mary, it was going to be tough for him to pass," Ricciardo told media, including RacingNews365.com, after he crossed the line to give McLaren their first win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

"I think where I felt I was a little vulnerable was at the end of that stint, where the tyres were going off, but I believe the others were suffering as well. In my head, I was thinking we were going to be vulnerable in that moment. I pitted and I think everyone else pitted as well, so I think we were all struggling at the same moment.

"It was then when we came back out in the lead [that] I was like, 'Alright, we've got this today. Unless something unfortunate happens, we can really win this race'.

"I think that's when any last bit of belief you need, you top it up, and you're like, 'Someone is going to have to take it from me, because otherwise we're winning this thing.'"

The foundations for the victory were laid during Friday's qualifying session, with Ricciardo posting the fifth-fastest time.

Having missed out on third place by just 0.029 seconds, the Australian could be heard on team radio expressing frustration with himself about such a small margin, and explained on Sunday night that it was because he knew the MCL35M was competitive at Monza.

"I knew after Friday that we had something this weekend," he commented.

"I think that's why I was so fired up, because I knew it could have been a little bit better and I just didn't want to waste that opportunity. Obviously, I haven't had that many this year, or put myself in that position, so I think from that moment it was pretty much on."

F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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