F1 fans ‘gutted’ as Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo was robbed of a points result in Italian Grand Prix due to yet another McLaren stuff-up
- Ricciardo was dumped by the manufacturer for 2023 in favour of Lando Norris
- The Aussie champion has had a year to forget, with a string of engine failures
- Ricciardo won the Italian GP in 2021 and was looking good to earn a points finish
- Then disaster struck and he suffered another engine failure to end his race
The manufacturer has confirmed that Ricciardo will make way for fellow Australian star Lando Norris in 2023, leaving the 33-year-old without a home for next season.
Ricciardo famously stormed home to victory at Monza in 2021 ahead of compatriot Lando and had high hopes of another strong performance over the weekend despite a season littered with engine failures.
With around half the field copping points penalties for engine modifications, including leader Max Verstappen, Ricciardo started from the second row of the grid.
He was within six laps of a morale-boosting points finish at the Monza track when his engine developed an oil leak and he slowed and lurched to the right side of the track.
Because the nature of the engine failure meant he car was stuck in gear, his McLaren could not be moved easily which forced the remainder of the race to be completed behind the safety car.
Ricciardo has been left to wonder what could have been after the sacked McLaren driver suffered yet another engine failure at the Italian Grand Prix that cost him a points result
Ricciardo tried to remain positive after yet another McLaren disaster.
‘It was a busy race, trying to hold on, do what I could and then yeah, felt like we got a little bit of a rhythm on the hards (tyres) with 10-15 laps to go but then the engine just switched off out of turn six,’ he said.
‘I had to pull over straight away because it was stuck in gear and so I couldn’t roll to a safe place. It would have been nice to get some points, but it wasn’t meant to be today.’
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said it was a disappointing finish to what was shaping as a strong weekend.
‘Daniel commented on the radio that he lost the engine and it looks like that we had an oil leak, but what exactly the root cause of the oil leak (is) something we need to analyse once the car is back,’ he said.
‘It is obviously very unfortunate for Daniel, for us, that after a strong weekend on his side of the garage, the strong race today, that ultimately we couldn’t score the points that he deserves this weekend.’
Verstappen celebrates with fans after winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza under controversial circumstances after the last six laps were completed behind the safety car
Despite being pushed back to seventh on the grid, Verstappen stormed home to victory – to a chorus of boos because of the anti-climatic finish to the race.
‘It was unfortunate, everyone wants to finish under a green flag, but unfortunately we were short of laps,’ Verstappen told reporters after the race.
‘But I had new softs so I wasn’t too worried.’
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc continued: ‘The end was frustrating, I wish could have had a bit of racing at the end, unfortunately we were second because of what happened before.
‘It was a bit unfortunate because in the middle of the pit lane we have the virtual safety car ending so we didn’t have any of the benefit of stopping at that moment and from that moment we were on the back foot.’