Max Verstappen, the championship leader, was fined on Sunday for colliding with F1 title challenger Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix, which was won by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
After the race, Verstappen was fined for the crash, and the Red Bull driver would start three positions lower on the grid for the Russian Grand Prix.
It was McLaren’s first victory in nearly nine years, dating back to Jenson Button’s victory in Brazil in 2012.
Ricciardo also won for the first time since Monaco in 2018. He finished 1.747 seconds ahead of teammate Lando Norris and 4.921 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who had to start from the rear of the grid after receiving a penalty for changing engines.
But the biggest talking point of the race came on Lap 26 of 53.
Hamilton pitted from first place and rejoined the race just ahead of Verstappen. As the seven-time champion protected his position, the Red Bull driver attempted to move up the inside on a corner.
As the two collided, Verstappen’s car launched on top of the Mercedes, sending both cars crashing into the gravel. The front of the F1 car cockpit’s protective halo ring may have saved Hamilton’s life.
“That’s what you get when you don’t leave the space,” said a furious Verstappen over team radio. Verstappen continued to blame Hamilton for the incident in a later post.
Both drivers were able to exit their cars, however Hamilton took a long time getting out of his and only did so after Verstappen had left.
Ricciardo won the race following a fantastic start that allowed him to overcome Verstappen, who had started from pole position, at the first turn.
Hamilton, who started fourth, passed Lando Norris in the pack behind them. However, when he approached the second chicane, he attempted to drive around the outside of Verstappen but was thrown off across the grass, allowing Norris to reclaim his position.
“He (Verstappen) pushed me wide!” Hamilton exclaimed over team radio.
Hamilton was then held up by Norris, leaving him with no choice but to watch in frustration as Ricciardo and Verstappen extended their lead lap after lap.
On lap 23, Ricciardo was the first to pit, and he finished seventh. Verstappen was having problems with his tires and had to stop on the next lap.
But a failed pit stop that took 11.1 seconds dropped him to 10th, and to make matters worse, Hamilton had passed Norris to take the lead.
However, disaster struck for both drivers not long after.
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