(Australian Associated Press)
The stunning feats of Daniel Ricciardo and Will Power have created motorsport history.
Their success on Sunday ensured Australia became the first country to have drivers win motorsport’s two most famous races on the same day.
Only hours after Ricciardo won the prestigious Monaco Formula One Grand Prix from pole, 37-year-old Power pulled off the greatest win of his career in America.
Power became the first Australian to win the Indianapolis 500, which was first held in 1911.
Only two other countries – Britain (1965, 1966) and Brazil (1989, 1993) – had provided the winning driver at Monaco and Indianapolis in the same year.
The last Australian to win on the streets of Monaco in 2010 and 2012, Mark Webber, was overjoyed about the duel successes.
“A little reminder for the Australian press … please feel free to load front and back pages with motorsport related success stories from Indianapolis and Monte Carlo,” Webber tweeted.
Ricciardo’s second win of the F1 season sees him third in the overall standings to put him within reach of a maiden championship.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who have won four titles each, lead the series but 28-year-old Ricciardo has firmed into a $13 favourite.
Australia hasn’t had an F1 champion since Alan Jones in 1980, while the great Jack Brabham is the only other driver from this country to do so having won it three times (1959, 1960, 1966).
The victory in Monaco was sweet redemption for Ricciardo, who was denied a certain win in 2016 when his Red Bull Racing team botched a regulation pit stop.
“I lost power halfway and I thought the race was over. Thanks to the team we got it back. I’m stoked,” Ricciardo said.
While Ricciardo has become a household name in Australian sport, the same can’t be said about Power even after winning the IndyCar series in 2014.
“To be the first Australian to win the Indy 500, that’s very special,” the Toowoomba-raised Power said.
“Maybe they might recognise me down there now. I don’t think many people know who I am down there.”
Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin and fellow Ford driver Will Davison, who is Power’s close mate, were trackside supporting him.
“It feels cool to be here to see Will (Power) win. I was here when he finished P2 in 2015, and in the motorhome afterwards I could see how much that hurt,” Davison said.
“I know how much this race has meant to him and how much it’s annoyed him that he hasn’t been able to win this one.”
Power wasn’t the only Australian to race in the Indy500, with Melbourne’s James Davison, a cousin of Will Davison, finishing at the back of the field.