Daniel Ricciardo put on a scintillating display at the Italian Grand Prix, weaving from the back of the grid to the brink of the podium in a race that saw Lewis Hamilton claim the Formula One championship lead.
After being handed a grid penalty for making power unit and gearbox changes to his car during qualifying, produced “some good overtakes” as he jumped up 12 spots in the race.
The Australian finished four seconds behind his third-placed former teammate, Sebastian Vettel, who himself was well behind winner and new championship leader Hamilton.
Hamilton led from pole position to top of the F1 driver’s standings for the first time this season.
The Briton took the chequered flag at Monza ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari’s Vettel recovering from eighth place on the grid to finish third in the team’s home race.
It was three-time world champion Hamilton’s sixth win of the season and 59th of his career after going one better than Michael Schumacher’s previous record of 68 pole positions on Saturday.
Hamilton goes from a seven-point deficit to Vettel in the standings to a three-point lead with F1 moving to Singapore in two weeks on a circuit expected to favour the Ferraris.
It was an untroubled Italian GP from the front for Hamilton, who has now won four times at Monza following victories in 2012, 2014 and 2015 – matching Nelson Piquet but one behind Schumacher’s record of five wins.
The Italian GP performance mirrored Ricciardo’s British GP, when he leapt from 19th on the grid to fifth.
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) September 3, 2017
“I loved it, it was good fun,” the 28-year-old said.
“Two of my favourite races this year have been starting from the back — Silverstone and then this one.”
The best moment of the race was Ricciardo’s final move to pass Kimi Raikkonen into fourth place.
Coming into turn one on the 41st lap, Ricciardo’s engineer told him the Ferrari driver was all alone.
“He’s vulnerable again. Let’s get him,” he said.
And get him Ricciardo did, somehow sneaking past in the tightest of corners
Hamilton took the flag more than four seconds ahead of Bottas, with Vettel some 36 seconds back, for the first back-to back victories by a driver this season.
There were boos from some of the Ferrari fans for Hamilton on the podium but the Briton took it in his stride.
“You know what – I love it here in Italy,” he told former F1 driver Jean Alesi, who conducted the podium interviews.
“I love the passion of the fans especially the Ferrari fans. The energy – you never get to see it apart from Silverstone so I love it. I am happy. The team did an amazing job.
“Today was all about the team pulling together and maximising the car. It was fantastic. I look forward to coming back here next year and for the rest of this season.”
Force India’s Esteban Ocon, Williams rookie Lance Stroll, who had started on the front row, his teammate Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez in a Force India and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed the leading 10.
Hamilton now has 238 points in the standings, with Vettel on 235, Bottas on 197, Ricciardo on 144 and Raikkonen on 138.
– With ABC, AAP