'Bad news': Staggering truth about Daniel Ricciardo's F1 triumph

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Daniel Ricciardo, pictured here celebrating on the podium after winning the Italian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo celebrates on the podium after winning the Italian Grand Prix. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc has declared Daniel Ricciardo's stunning triumph at the Italian Grand Prix is "bad news" for the rest of the F1 field.

Ricciardo says he's back in business after breaking a three-year victory drought by winning Sunday's race in Monza in a 1-2 for McLaren.

The victory was McLaren's first since 2012 when Jenson Button won the Brazilian Grand Prix, and it was Ricciardo's first since he was at Red Bull in 2018.

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"About time," smiled the happy Australian before performing his trademark 'Shoey' — glugging the podium champagne from his sweaty boot and sharing it with second-placed teammate Lando Norris and McLaren boss Zak Brown.

"To lead literally from start to finish, I don't think any of us expected that.

"To not only win but to get a one-two, it's insane. For McLaren to be on the podium is huge."

Leclerc, who finished fourth in his Ferrari, said it was staggering to see the McLaren drivers perform so well.

“Days like this shows they are really on it,” Leclerc told Sky Sports.

“I am very happy for Daniel, it is great to see him perform as he would have done last year. He is an incredible driver and it is great to see him back at 100 per cent.

“It’s true that he had a bad first part of the season. Even for us it was difficult seeing him struggling like that compared to Lando. 

"And finally seeing him perform like the Daniel of the last few years like he did, it’s pleasant to see.

“But for us, it is bad news if he keeps performing like this. It is pushing us to try and be perfect every weekend and that is exactly what we will try to do in the next few weekends.”

Ricciardo, whose seven other race wins were all with Red Bull, completed his day with a bonus point for fastest lap and the award of 'Driver of the Day' by fans.

The result was a perfect reply from the Australian to his critics after he'd been struggling to get to grips with his new McLaren and had been overshadowed by Norris since joining from Renault at the end of last year.

"For anyone who thought I'd left, I never left," he said over the radio after taking the chequered flag. 

"I just moved aside for a while."

Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, pictured here in action during the Italian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris in action during the Italian Grand Prix. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Daniel Ricciardo's fine form since summer break

Ricciardo said taking a two-week break from the sport had re-energised him.

“I think just the break, just August was good to really just switch off for a little bit,” Ricciardo said. 

“It was hard to get that kind of step back and look from afar and kind of gain perspective. 

"So I think it’s definitely helped me return to a bit of form.”

McLaren's team principal Andreas Seidl agreed that Ricciardo needed a mental break.

“We all don’t know what he did in those two weeks (during the summer break),” Seidl said.

“Also don’t really want to know. It’s just good to have a break, get some distance as well after a very intense period for him where he was putting in a lot of energy and the results didn’t come.

“Maybe he exactly needed that break to step away, think, reflect, and then come back and apply everything we’d worked through in the first half of the season.

“Somehow that seems to have worked since Spa onwards and worked out now over the course of the triple header, even if it wasn’t visible in Zandvoort because we struggled with the performance of the car.

“So, very happy with him, with this step now, that he’s pulled off this great win, and for Lando. Great performance from both guys and we look forward to a strong second half of the season from (Daniel’s) side and a strong continuation of form for Lando.”

with AAP

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