Welcome to the first of these little blogs - where keeping with the theme of my webcomic, I'll divulge some of my thoughts about motorsport. It could be about the last Grand Prix I watched, or maybe a racing video game I like, or something a bit abstract but still about motorsport. It'll also help me keep this website alive with some bits of content in between periods where I am unfit to draw more pages of this comic. Just like this period where I have been told by my physiotherapist recently to lay off drawing for now. So, on we go!

It’s been two weeks since the Italian Grand Prix, and the win I was dreaming of for ages actually happened.

If you know me well, it’s no surprise that I am a huge fan of Daniel Ricciardo. His charm, humour and late-break overtakes are what instantly won me over, and helped me become a full-time Formula 1 viewer. Not only that, but his personality has inspired that of our heroine, Tiffany Paradiso.

I remember his win well in Monaco 2018. I had come back home from work, and was watching a re-run of it, having tried not to get the race results spoilt for me. Often I worked the Sunday afternoons in retail, so those were difficult times. While I didn’t watch Formula 1 during the time Ricciardo suffered from that horrendous pitstop that cost him the win at Monaco in 2016, I was aware of that hurt that was echoing through him. This really was his chance for redemption.

The long and short: he won, he kept the lead with a few broken gears (Monaco is the best place for that, but it still didn’t take away from the effort he had to put into making that work), and I was thrilled because next day I was hopping on a flight to go to Lanzarote for a week’s holidays.

And that was his last win for a while. He managed a few podiums with Renault which was fantastic to see. From my memory, Ricciardo seemed to have got to grips with his Renault fairly quickly – perhaps around the 5th or 6th race of his first season with the team? Something like that. He soon was a frequent of the top 6 classifications at the very least. But it’s been a bit different since venturing into McLaren. Not as quick to get used to the car, knocked out of Q2 a few times. Lando Norris obviously being the most experienced McLaren driver right now has him beat in qualifying.

And I won’t lie: me and a few of my friends were actually worried. Ricciardo is undeniably one of the most impressive drivers out there at the moment. So it was very difficult for us to understand what exactly was going on. However I think that comparing the quick progress I saw with him in that Renault isn’t fair, really. It’s still only his first season with the Woking team. Still so much to learn about the car, the power unit, how it drives, his team – everything. And while he’s still a bit off the pace of Norris, you can definitely see he’s been getting up ever so slowly and gradually. Better than nothing at all.

Whatever Danny Ric did during the summer break has finally paid off. Monza being one of the few weekends of the year where the Sprint Race qualifying format was in place, he managed to gain a few places (also thanks to Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty) earning him the inside line on the front row. And then, come Sunday, he overtook Max Verstappen, and made that stick. And I bet you that he would have been able to hold P1 even if Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton didn’t have that nasty crash. I always felt Monza was Danny Ric’s track; some of the best overtakes I’ve seen from from him have been in that Temple of Speed.

I can just imagine the months of frustration melting away from his psyche as he downed that infamous shoey on the podium. Oh, how I missed those. He was so elated days after on social media, as you bloody well would be. But it wasn’t just Ricciardo that was elated: McLaren won their first Grand Prix in what, 9 years? Now that’s a mega effort for the team to celebrate. The past few years of improvements are finally paying dividends.

And honestly, I do expect it to pay even more dividends again for today’s Grand Prix in Sochi. Norris has always been so tantalizingly close to getting P1 a few times this year. And yesterday he finally secured it. I think Norris could absolutely win this – making it two on the trot. The scenes if McLaren win two races in a row with two different drivers. With Norris being such a fan favourite, if he wins today – especially in this social media and memelord age – the internet will be absolutely set ablaze.

Well done, Ricciardo. Well done, Monza. And come on, Norris, you absolutely got this.

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