An incident-filled Italian Grand Prix provided a return to the top step of the Formula 1 podium for a popular team and driver and the latest major flashpoint between 2021’s title protagonists.

Monza delivered a memorable race for the second year running as it served up an action-packed thriller that had big ramifications at both ends of the championship.

With the dust settling on the Italian Grand Prix, here are our biggest winners and losers from round 14 of the 2021 F1 season…

Winners:

Daniel Ricciardo

“For anyone who thought I left, I never left” was the message from Daniel Ricciardo as he crossed the line to become an eight-time grand prix winner and take his first victory since leaving Red Bull in 2018.

The charismatic Australian turned in a flawless drive to claim a shock win for McLaren after a rocket start saw him snatch the lead away from polesitter and former teammate Max Verstappen on the run to the first chicane.

From there, Ricciardo was in complete control and probably would have had Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton covered even if their dramatic collision did make his job that little bit easier.

McLaren

A massive result for McLaren as the British squad scored its first victory in nearly a decade and its first 1-2 finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris put the team first to secure a famous result and ensure McLaren brought home a huge haul of 45 points across the weekend.

In taking its first win since 2012, McLaren remarkably also became the first team this season to record a 1-2 finish, beating both Mercedes and Red Bull to the feat.

McLaren has subsequently moved back into third place in the constructors’ championship, 13.5 points clear of rivals Ferrari.

Valtteri Bottas

Days after his departure from Mercedes and move to Alfa Romeo for 2022 was officially confirmed, Valtteri Bottas produced one of his best performances in F1.

The Finn pipped teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position on Friday, before brilliantly converting that into a commanding victory in F1’s second-ever sprint.

On Sunday, Bottas started at the back of the grid due to an engine change but turned in a charging recovery drive to seal the last spot on the podium.

Bottas was blisteringly fast and consistent all weekend in what will act as a morale-boosting display that crucially ensured Mercedes outscored title rivals Red Bull.

George Russell

Russell may have struggled for his usual headline-grabbing pace in qualifying but he dragged his Williams into the points for the third time in the last four races at Monza.

An impressive drive to ninth can give the starring Russell even more cause for celebration, after his long-awaited promotion to Mercedes for 2022 was officially announced last week.

It is a result that further strengthens Williams’ grip over eight place in the constructors’ championship - a position it looks likely to hold onto.

Losers:

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton can be considered a winner for walking away unscathed from his scary accident with Verstappen after the halo on his Mercedes protected him from harm, but the seven-time world champion ultimately dropped more points to his main rival in the title race.

A poor start in the sprint race gave Hamilton unnecessary work to do on a weekend Mercedes failed to capitalise on having the fastest car.

A win could have been on the cards for Hamilton had he not crashed out with Verstappen, who looked on course to potentially lose his points lead altogether following a terrible pit stop by Red Bull.

Verstappen may have taken advantage of Hamilton’s error on Saturday to grab what could end up being two vital points in the title race, but he was blamed for the clash and has been handed a grid penalty for the next race in Sochi.

Sergio Perez

After being effectively sacrificed in qualifying to boost Verstappen’s chances, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Sergio Perez in Italy.

He could only take ninth behind Antonio Giovinazzi in Saturday’s sprint but turned in a strong drive on Sunday as he put himself in contention for the podium.

However, a poorly judged decision not to hand back position to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after passing him off the track at Turn 4 resulted in Perez receiving a time penalty that dropped him from third on the road to P5.

It was costly for Red Bull and meant the team ultimately ended up coming away from the weekend losing ground to Mercedes in the world championship.

Ferrari

P4 and P6 for Ferrari would not have been such a bad result for the team on home soil had McLaren not taken a 1-2 finish.

Leclerc felt he turned in one of his strongest drives yet on his way to fourth, but the Scuderia ultimately failed to capitalise on drama for Mercedes and Red Bull and lost a big chunk of points to its main rival in their tight battle over P3.

A huge improvement on last year’s Italian GP for sure, but the 2021 Monza event won’t be one Ferrari looks back on with fond memories.

AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri’s 16-race points scoring streak came to an end in Monza, the scene of its famous shock victory 12 months ago.

Gasly was forced into a pitlane start after a PU change following his big crash in the sprint, which had started promisingly as he moved ahead of Hamilton and up to fifth.

But neither the Frenchman or his teammate Yuki Tsunoda were able to even start the race after car problems ended their day prematurely.

Given the pace of the AlphaTauri, it was a big missed opportunity to score some important points in the battle over P5 in the constructors’ standings, with Alpine continuing to pull clear.

Antonio Giovinazzi

For the second weekend running, Giovinazzi had nothing to show for his outstanding qualifying efforts.

The Italian took a strong eighth in the sprint and was in the mix at the start of Sunday’s grand prix as he found himself squabbling with the Ferraris.

In his attempts to get past Leclerc, Giovinazzi skipped across the second chicane and was tagged into a spin by Carlos Sainz, leaving him at the very back and in need of a new front-wing.

Following a penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner, Giovinazzi could only recover to a disappointing P13.