The Australian broke McLaren’s nine-year drought without a win, and the key to that was overtaking Max Verstappen at the very start of the race on his way to the first chicane. Ricciardo made a great breakthrough in front of Verstappen and kept the Dutchman behind him in the starting phase of the race.
Although he worried that he could lose his position after changing the tires, he says that after leaving the box he knew that the victory was his. Ricciardo’s job became easier when Verstappen and Hamilton dropped out of the race after the collision, but the Australian believes the win was his even before it happened, when the main rivals for the title were still in the race.
"There were laps in where he pressured me, but it never happened that I actually had to defend myself. It was there, but I knew it would be hard for him to overtake me unless I made a mistake." "Towards the end of the stint, we were a little vulnerable, because the tires were worn out, but the others were also struggling.
I knew we would be vulnerable at that point. " "I went to change the tires, and I think the others went to the box at that time. We all struggled at the same time. When I got back on track in the lead, I knew we had a win unless something unfortunate happened.
I knew we could win. " "Then that last faith comes to you and you say to yourself, 'OK, someone will have to take this away from me, otherwise the victory is ours,'" Ricciardo said.
Track in Monza
Ricciardo admits that the configuration of the track in Monza went in McLaren's favor, but says that his 'inner anger' also helped him get the most out of it.
"This track seems to suit McLaren very well. It suited us last year as well. I didn't drive this car last year, but I saw the result the team achieved (Sainz finished second). " "I knew that was why we were entering the weekend with confidence.
Then I was there with two things. I just love this track, I always loved it, it was always fun for me. Then you combine that feeling with the car. I've been feeling better and more confident lately. " "Besides, I was angry on Friday (after qualifying).
The Top 3 was very close to us and I thought my lapwas good. But there’s always one part of you that you could have done better." "I had some anger in me and I used that as an advantage for the rest of the weekend, "Ricciardo added.
McLaren achieved a historic result in Monza. They broke their nine-year fast without a win, and also came away with their first double win in 11 years.