Daniel Ricciardo said the “speed bumps” he encountered in his first half year with McLaren made victory at the Italian Grand Prix all the more emotional.
Ricciardo joined McLaren this season but, against most preseason expectations, struggled to match his younger and less accomplished teammate Lando Norris in the build-up to F1’s summer break.
The Australian driver excelled at Monza, qualifying second and beating Max Verstappen off the line to lead into Turn 1. He overcame a mid-race Safety Car period to claim his eighth career victory, his first since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix.
“I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet,” Ricciardo said on Sunday evening. “It’s actually probably the first time I’ve been overwhelmed by winning. I think as well it’s been over three years or something.
“Not that this affects me but… I just know that no one would have predicted this, this year especially after the first half of the year. It’s easy to lose confidence and lose your way. I think that’s just when perspective and everything comes to fruition and knowing deep within yourself that it can happen and just never doubt yourself.
“I think if you truly love something and believe in it, never doubt yourself. Some of the speed bumps along the way make moments like this even sweeter.”
It was also McLaren’s first since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, ending a wait of 3,213 days.
Norris made it a perfect day for McLaren, finishing second – the team’s first one-two finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
“I think it’s incredible,” Norris said. “The main thing it means to me is our result as a team, whether I’m second third or first it’s that 1-2 for the team, securing maximum point. It’s such a cool feeling, to be part of this, a bit lost for words in a way.
“I’m happy for myself, for us to execute the race the way we did, the strategy, overtakes, defending. Happy for Daniel and the whole team as it’s a pretty awesome achievement for all of us.”