The Italian Grand Prix threw up another great race in this enthralling 2021 Formula 1 season, with Daniel Ricciardo storming back to the top step after a few seasons away, delivering a first victory for McLaren since 2012 in the process.
Indeed, it’s been a long road back for the Aussie to the top of the podium, and an even longer one for his team, but to the delight of many fans watching and in attendance, they finally brought their respective droughts to an end.
There can be only one place, then, to kick-off our latest two winners/two losers piece…
Winner – Daniel Ricciardo
As Ricciardo said post-race, he hadn’t left, he’d just stepped aside for a bit.
He’s had a few down moments at McLaren since joining as he’s bedded in but the whole weekend the car looked strong and fast under his control.
Once the opportunity to win presented itself to him, too, he never looked like letting it go – bringing it home in professional style.
Loser – Lewis Hamilton
In many respects, Lewis is actually a winner. When you see shots of a rear Pirelli tyre being cushioned by a halo and his crash helmet, you find it simply amazing the worst injury he had was a neck strain.
However, he did lose out in the Sprint – earning no points – and then obviously got nothing in the race, too, at a track where many felt he and Mercedes could have taken maximum points.
Winner – Valtteri Bottas
Bottas had himself quite the week.
His future was cleared up at the start with him moving to Alfa Romeo in 2022 and he ended it with a reminder that they are getting a very talented driver, for all that gets written about him.
He took max points from the Sprint on Saturday and then roared back to third place from 19th on the grid after engine penalties were applied on Sunday. A top drive when the Silver Arrows needed him most.
Loser – Max Verstappen
Max has to take this other spot this weekend.
He had the chance to extend his lead over Lewis this weekend but a poor pitstop was what eventually led to him playing leapfrog with his title rival at the first chicane.
He gets a three-place grid penalty for his involvement in the incident at the Russian Grand Prix next time out, too.