Ricciardo controlled proceedings at Monza after taking the lead from Max Verstappen on the opening lap, with the pressure then easing after Verstappen and title rival Lewis Hamilton collided, bringing out a mid-race safety car.
Ricciardo kept a stable gap to McLaren team-mate Lando Norris behind in the final 23 laps of green flag running, leading him home to score a 1-2 for the team.
It marks Ricciardo’s first podium since joining McLaren, his first win since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, and ends a nine-year win drought for the team dating back to Brazil 2012.
It is also the first 1-2 finish for McLaren since Canada 2010.
Ricciardo was told he could not swear during the parc ferme interviews, but said it was “about [pause] time”.
“I knew, to be honest, even if we got the start, it was never a guarantee we would lead the whole race,” Ricciardo said.
“I was able to hold firm out front in the first stint. I don’t think we had like mega speed, but it was enough just to keep Max behind.
“And then I don’t know, there were safety cars, there was this and that. To lead literally from start to finish, I don’t think any of us expected that.
“There was something in me on Friday. I knew something good was to come. Let’s just say that.”
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Ricciardo had told Autosport after qualifying fourth on Friday that he felt “internal rage” that he was not higher up the grid, believing he had the pace to fight at the front.
The result put an end to a difficult start to life with McLaren for Ricciardo, who had struggled to match team-mate Norris’s form through much of the season so far.
Ricciardo joked that he’d been “a sandbagging SOB the whole year”, but hailed the impact of the summer break to help him reset.
“Thirds, fourths, fifth, you might as well just win, so that’s what I did,” Ricciardo said.
“Obviously the August break was good, just to reset, so I felt better the last three weekends.
“To not only win but to get a 1-2, it’s insane. For McLaren to be on the podium, it’s huge, let alone 1-2.
“So this is for Team Papaya. I’m for once lost for words.”