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McLaren

Why McLaren played it right with Ricciardo and Norris in Italian GP

Although Lando Norris hinted at one point that he wanted to challenge Daniel Ricciardo for victory at the Italian Grand Prix, Martin Brundle believes McLaren got their team strategy right.

Norris Ricciardo Monza
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To news overview © McLaren

McLaren finally ended their run of 170 Grands Prix without victory thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's win at Monza, and Martin Brundle believes the team made the right call in having their drivers hold station at the end of the race.

The Australian took a famous win at the Italian Grand Prix, a result that means he'll be able to drive Dale Earnhardt's No3 Chevrolet from McLaren CEO Zak Brown's extensive collection of historic and racing cars.

Although Ricciardo claimed the win, there was a moment in the race when Norris took to the team radio and said his teammate was going "too slow". In the end, McLaren opted to have their drivers hold position, a move Brundle believes was the correct one.

"I felt for Norris, it could so easily have been his first victory," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports.

"[He outqualified] Ricciardo by a few thousandths of a second, but his Sprint start didn't work out quite so well and so he lined up behind his teammate.

"He did suggest a couple of times that he could go faster than Daniel, but the team quite rightly recognised the Aussie had the big picture and long game sorted up front, and held station with their two drivers.

"Norris's youthful and almost choir boy looks and demeanour are a very light veneer over an extremely brave racer. His move past Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari at Curva Grande, partly on the grass at one point, was totally fearless.

"Without his crash through saturated Eau Rouge up to Raidillon, he would have had a mighty qualifying and therefore result in the previous non-race in Spa, too. As Lando says, his time will come and he's one of the hottest properties in F1 right now."

Ricciardo's eighth career F1 win comes after some noted struggles earlier in the season, but Brundle believes his performance at Monza shows he hasn't lost any of his class.

"Ricciardo seized the opportunity for his eighth F1 victory in a fine and controlled style," Brundle added.

"He handled it superbly to lead every lap from the front row after a perfect start from the 'dirty side' of the grid, aced the Safety Car restarts, and even pumped in the fastest lap on the final tour to collect 27 of the maximum 29 points available to any driver for the event, including the Sprint race on Saturday.

"Cometh the hour cometh the man, as I'm sure Daniel doesn't say, but he stepped right up and he's always a popular figure on the podium with his sweaty fireproof boot full of victory fluid.

"He's had a soul-searching year magnified by Norris's outstanding form, but as always form is temporary, and class is permanent."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Title battle heats up as Verstappen and Hamilton collide again!

It's time for the latest episode of our new Formula 1 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the fallout from a dramatic Italian Grand Prix weekend.

F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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