McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo did his best to ensure that his retirement from the Italian Grand Prix did not cause a Safety Car, but his engine failure was very unfortunately timed.
The Australian made a good start as he climbed up to third ahead of Lando Norris, who bogged down off the start of the race.
That enabled Pierre Gasly to climb up to fourth behind Ricciardo and, in the meantime, Max Verstappen was making his way through from seventh.
The Dutchman passed both of his former team-mates to move up into third, and he later got past George Russell on track, before clearing Charles Leclerc in the pits.
Ricciardo spent most of his afternoon leading a DRS train, and he had to focus and work incredibly hard to keep Gasly behind him.
The 33-year-old pitted earlier than team-mate Norris, and was forced to relinquish the position when the Briton came through on much fresher tyres.
Ricciardo also fell behind Carlos Sainz, Sir Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez when they climbed up from the back of the grid, and he looked set to finish eighth on the track.
Unfortunately for the eight-time race winner, he suffered a failure going through the first Lesmo on lap 47, so he had to pull over to the side of the racetrack.
There is not enough space on the other side of the barrier for recovery vehicles to be stationed, and it is an awkward part of the circuit to get to, so it took a while to clear the car.
What also did not help was that the McLaren was stuck in fourth gear, so the marshals could not get it into neutral to wheel it back to the gate.
Further, the Safety Car failed to pick up leader Verstappen when it was deployed, so it took even longer to sort the pack, and in the end, there was not enough time to get the race restarted under green flag conditions.
After he had made it back to the paddock, Ricciardo explained what happened to him.
“Car switched off, I don’t know the details but in simple terms just everything shut off,” he told Formula1.com.
“So I was in Lesmo 1, fourth gear and then immediately [switched] off, and then obviously stuck in gear so I just tried to pull over to the inside of the track as quick as I could.
“But when I got out of the car, for me to find an opening was difficult. I was surprised there wasn’t an opening any sooner, or I guess I passed it probably when I was trying to pull off.
“But obviously then I found out after the race, the race ended under the Safety Car, but if I could have done anything else I would have – but that was all I could do.”
Starting at the front and fighting in the points was a gratifying feeling in what has not been an easy year for the Australian.
“It was nice to start at the front, nice to be on the second row and I got a decent start,” added Ricciardo.
“Obviously [I] was in third [place] and I was kind of hoping the race would end on lap one! Another podium would have been really good, but I didn’t have the pace.
“I was fighting, I was trying to hang on with Gasly and he was definitely quicker, so I was happy to hold him off for pretty much the whole race. But I wish we had a bit more to show.”
Norris finished seventh while neither Fernando Alonso nor Esteban Ocon scored points, so McLaren have closed the gap to the French team to 18 points in the battle for fourth.