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Formula One

Lando Norris storms to Miami Grand Prix win

He’s only gone and done it! Lando Norris is an F1 winner

Published: 05 May 2024

It’s finally happened: after 110 races, 15 podium finishes and more than a few near-misses, Lando Norris can call himself an F1 race winner at long last after storming to the chequered flag at the Miami Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old went into the weekend with a major upgrade on his car, but hadn’t been able to fully flex the McLaren’s pace prior to lining up on the grid, having been punted out of the sprint race through no fault of his own on Saturday.

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And in the early part of the main event it was his teammate Oscar Piastri - carrying only some of McLaren’s upgraded parts - who lit the fuse on the race, dispatching the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc for P2 early on and then impressively staying in touch of race leader Max Verstappen.

Norris meanwhile was stuck in P6 behind the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez, and with overtaking so difficult in Miami it wasn’t until the Mexican pitted that the Briton could put the hammer down.

And rather than pitting immediately to defend against Perez, the team encouraged him to run long and instead chase after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. “I’ll go get him,” came the response.

Even with scorching pace Norris needed luck on his side, and the pendulum started to swing his way when Verstappen straightlined the T14-15 chicane on lap 21, hitting a bollard that then had to be retrieved by a marshal under a brief virtual safety car.

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The Dutchman pitted a short time later, leaving Norris in the lead and in the perfect position to benefit should the safety car be called into action.

Kevin Magnussen made sure that it was. The Haas driver - seemingly on a one-man mission to set the record for penalties earned in a single race weekend - charged into Logan Sargeant in Turn 2, shunting the Williams driver into the barriers and changing the course of the race.

Norris dived into the pits for fresh tyres and - perhaps so used to Verstappen being in the lead - the safety car mistakenly backed the field up behind the Dutchman as the actual race leader disappeared into the distance. Oops.

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With the danger cleared and the field properly bunched, Norris led the pack away on lap 33 and immediately had to defend from Verstappen at the restart, as the championship leader threatened to reclaim the lead with typical metronomic ease.

But Norris soon broke clear of Verstappen’s DRS and the man who’d started on pole had no answer to the McLaren’s electric pace, giving Norris his best shot at a win since the Russian GP three seasons ago, when staying out on slicks as the heavens opened cost him victory in heartbreaking fashion in Sochi.

There’d be no repeat this time. No rain, for a start. But no panic either, as Norris drove immaculately to the chequered flag to become F1’s first maiden winner since George Russell’s first victory in Sao Paulo in 2022. Verstappen settled for second while Leclerc took third.

“Woo! Woo! Oh, about ******* time,” Lando screamed to race engineer Will Joseph. “I love you all. I love you all. Thank you so much. We did it Will! We did it!”

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