Posted on September 23, 2021 Tags: Daniel Ricciardo
Other images courtesy mclarenracing.com
THE BEST PART of Daniel Ricciardo’s stylish win at Monza was the way he set the fastest lap of the race on the dash to the chequered flag at the Italian Grand Prix. It may have been an unnecessary – and even risky – act of bravado, but it clearly demonstrated the Perth superstar had finally regained his mojo!
And it certainly gave runner-up Lando Norris, his brash young British teammate, something else to think about.
The renowned Temple of Speed marked the first time McLaren had achieved the 1-2 finish since 2010, with Daniel Ricciardo’s classy victory his first podium of the year. It was Daniel’s first F1 win since Monaco in 2018. His eighth overall!
Starting from second place on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo took the lead from polesitter Max Verstappen in a sublime move at the opening corner, and set about controlling the race.
Remember, we all know to win means you have first to finish. And It was through no fault of Daniel’s that Max and Lewis came a cropper.
While Lando was less than two seconds behind at the finish, it was the 21-year-old’s radio complaint that Daniel was driving “too slow” that sorted the men from the boys.
Confident he had extra speed in hand Daniel put pedal to metal, set that fastest lap coring a vital extra championship point. And putting Lando firmly in his place.
“It was to remind people that I haven’t forgotten!
“I was in control and I just wanted to show it was the last lap and I am not feeling any of the nerves or pressure so I am going to do my fastest lap of the race on the last lap, just to remind people, ‘I got this’.
“There was one lap in particular, not long after the restart when I let him (Lando) get too close and I probably gave him the impression I was maybe not that fast.
“And I think that’s when he probably said ‘I want to try and attack Daniel’.
“I could see in my mirrors, he was probably even closer than I let Max get at the start of the race.”
“I was like, ‘OK, I don’t need to be saving (tyres) this much, so then I kind of turned it up a little bit.
“With the restarts and the craziness of the racing these days, I was always trying to save a little bit, just in case there was another restart.
“Could I have won by 20 seconds? I’m not saying I could have, no, but I was just doing what I had to.”DANIEL RICCIARDO, speaking to the BBC.
Now, most top sports stars know that reality is you’re only as good as your last outing. And Daniel is well aware he still has a long season ahead to show how good he really is!
Just as he was frightfully aware Lando had finished in the top five in nine of the first 10 races, to his solitary single top five. And Lando still sits fourth on the F1 world championship table with 132 points, while our Aussie is back in eighth on 83.
And It’s likely Max and Lewis will be extra careful not to tangle again, with the championship stakes so high.
Mind you, that 1-2 did give the McLaren girls and boys the tonic the team needed – boosting them up to third in the mighty constructors’ championship, ahead of ’21 surprise package Ferrari.
But a win is a win! Just ask McLaren boss, Zak Brown!
“… what does champagne taste like out of a shoe? I don’t remember. What I do remember is that it was definitely my proudest day in motor racing.”
Zak Brown, 22/9/21
Meanwhile the FIA’s Australian race director Michael Masi has made it patently clear both to Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff that he won’t play their “games” with them.
The pair’s been waging a war of words throughout this season, as their respective charges battle it out for top billing, scrap after veritable scrap.
While Christian claimed Toto had been “lobbying the stewards”, there’s no doubt the Red Bull maestro gets plenty of mileage out of getting their viewpoint across.
And that, says Masi, is fine. But he’s not going to play their game.
“I think from the FIA perspective, together with the stewards, we look at each and every incident on its merit, regardless if it is Lewis, if it is Max, if it is whoever,” he said after the spooky Monza crash, which saw both drivers emerge unscathed (apart from the Dutchman’s three-place grid penalty here at Sochi).
“We have had a very close exciting championship between two fantastic drivers and that is the part we should all be focusing on.”
F1 managing director Ross Brawn hopes that at the end of the day it won’t be Michael Masi and the stewards deciding the outcome of the championship.
“I’m interested to see what impact Monza has on their ongoing battle for the title.
“We have lived through Silverstone, which was a major and controversial incident.
“Personally, I wouldn’t say it has changed the dynamic.
“You’ve got two cockerels in the farmyard at the moment and we are seeing the consequence of it.
“I don’t think either will back off at any moment for the rest of the year, but I hope the Championship is won on the track and not in the barriers or the stewards’ room.”— Ross Brawn, F1 Managing Director.
Sochi is a low severity track and the track surface has been steadily maturing since the asphalt was originally laid nearly a decade ago.
As a result, according to Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola, the softest rubber in the P Zero range is the perfect choice for the Russian seaside venue:
C3 as the P Zero White hard, C4 as the Yellow medium, and C5 as the Red soft – the same as last year.
The corners located around Sochi’s Olympic Park are generally slow to medium speed, with a number of 90-degree turns. In general, the circuit is all about traction and braking, so it’s rear-limited, says Pirelli.
The most demanding corner (and the only front-limited corner) is Turn 3: a multi-apex left-hander that is similar in some ways to Istanbul’s famous Turn 8 in Turkey, which is next grand prix on the calendar.
• Teams tend to run medium to low downforce, because of Sochi’s quite long straights, which places the emphasis on mechanical grip from the tyres.
• The track is not used a lot during the season, so it’s often particularly ‘green’ and slippery towards the start of the weekend. This can sometimes cause the tyres to slide rather than grip, especially during Friday’s free practice sessions but, as was the case last year, graining usually reduces a lot between free practice and the race due to track evolution.
“We’ve seen in the past that there’s been quite a lot of different strategic thinking, with all three compounds on the grid at the start of the race and varying tactics during the grand prix.
“Last year, the soft C5 performed better than expected and graining levels were reduced over all compounds between free practice and the race, due to high track evolution.
“In the past, some drivers have even tried a very early switch to the hardest compound and attempted to run all the way to the end, but last year this wasn’t quite possible as these days the asphalt has matured and is not as smooth as it was in the past.
“With the extra rubber on track from the very full schedule of support races this time, track evolution and grip should be further enhanced.”MARIO ISOLA – Head of Pirelli F1 and Car Racing
Following a calendar change F3 joins F2 for the weekend’s Russian Grand Prix. It’ll be a first for most F3 drivers as the series last raced in Sochi in 2019.
Prema Racing’s Melbournian Oscar Piastri has extended his F2 lead over China’s Guanyu Zhou by 15 points as they head in to Sochi for the weekend’s season final races – two sprints and Sunday’s feature event.
Oscar, who is managed by F1 legend Mark Webber, actually reckons he has Buckley’s of a 2022 F1 drive, given the dwindling seat changes. Time will tell.
Kiwi Liam Lawson is back in 8th, in the 35-car field. From Russia, F2 takes a two-month break before heading to Jeddah and Yas Island in December for the final events.
Btw, F2 rules prevent the champion from returning to the category, meaning should 20-year-old Oscar wrap up the title this year, he’s facing the prospect of a year out of the sport while he looks for a F1 drive in 2023! Go figure the options? Tanking?
For the F3 field, Russia is IT for 2021! Norwegian Denis Hauger holds a handy lead over Mick’s son Jack Doohan in the Russian event. Jenzer Motorsport’s hard-working Perth racer Calan Williams will be doing his level best to finish closer to the front.
Incidentally, Pirelli will bring more than 3500 tyres to Russia to shoe the beasts of F1, F2 and F3!
• And finally, the World Rally Championship – exclusively supplied by Pirelli – today announced the final round of this year’s series is the Monza Rally scheduled across November 19-21, using stages located on and around the home of the Italian Grand Prix.
EDITED by AC
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