Ricciardo’s surreal hero moments after Monza F1 win
By Mat Coch
Monday 13th September, 2021 - 5:11am
Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that two separate realisations have hit home following victory in the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.
The Australian headed a one-two for McLaren, its first in more than a decade, in an extraordinary race in Monza.
Along with ending his own winless drought, the result entitles the 32-year-old to a drive of a Dale Earnhardt NASCAR now owned by McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
Having had a bet with Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul, that the Frenchman would have to get a tattoo should Ricciardo score a podium with the French team, a similar deal was cut with Brown upon his arrival at McLaren.
That resulted in the chance to drive one of Earnhardt’s cars, though the cheeky Australian is looking for a little more from the deal.
“I’m like, maybe getting a car,” he joked.
“Because it was always a podium, you get to drive it – we never talked about a win!
“I gave him my shoe that he drank out of, so maybe he gives me the car. It’s a good trade!”
The opportunity to drive one of Earnhardt’s cars is a big deal for Ricciardo, who admitted the American was a large influence on his career.
However, that was just one of two moments of realisation which struck the now eight-time grand prix winner.
“There’s like a couple of things today, with two heroes,” he explained.
“Dale Earnhardt [is a] big hero of mine, and to have the chance to get behind a wheel of one of his cars is crazy.
“That’ll certainly be a kind of pinch me moment.
“And then the other one was, I’m sorry if I sound a bit self-absorbed right now, but I think McLaren, I think of [Ayrton] Senna,” he added.
“That’s the early memories.
“I’ve seen the trophies in the cabinet at the MTC, and to have a winning trophy now with my name in pretty much the same cabinet is crazy.
“So these are two little things today which I certainly appreciate, and they’re two little surreal moments that I guess have hit me.”
Ricciardo is the 22nd driver to have won a world championship grand prix for McLaren, which first claimed victory at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.
Sunday’s result marked the 184th victory for the team, 35 of which were won by Senna.