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Formula 1

Lando Norris's first F1 victory at Miami GP explained

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Lando Norris earned his first Formula 1 victory, beating championship leader Max Verstappen at the Miami Grand Prix for McLaren’s first win in three years.

Norris shed his unwanted record for the most podiums without an F1 win in style, taking full advantage of a safety car, McLaren’s new upgrade and some stellar driving along the way, to finally see the chequered flag first.

A tardy start

It was the McLaren of Oscar Piastri who stole a march at the start, leaping his way from sixth to third as Sergio Perez misjudged his braking into Turn 1 and almost wiped out polesitting team-mate Verstappen.

Piastri then passed Charles Leclerc into the Turn 17 left-hander while Norris dropped from fifth to sixth.

The picture out front remained largely static aside from Perez making an early switch to the hards on lap 17.

Four laps later Verstappen made a rare error, skipping across the chicane and whacked the bollard out of place in the process.

That dislodged bollard warranted a virtual safety car but another incident would prove decisive….

A gift for Norris

Norris’s pace when released by Perez put Verstappen, who Red Bull pitted two laps after his bollard incident, in something of a safety car danger zone window with a yet-to-stop Norris leading.

And Verstappen’s worst fear was realised when the safety car was deployed just after Norris crossed the line on lap 28.

The safety car was caused by yet another incident in Miami for Kevin Magnussen, who put his Haas down the inside of Logan Sargeant through Turns 2/3 and ended up tipping the Williams driver into a spin.

That allowed Norris to make his mandatory pitstop and come out still in the lead of the race while Verstappen was bottled up behind the safety car, which then released him.

It left Norris ahead of Verstappen on the safety car restart and a straight head-to-head fight for the second half of the race.

Norris brings it home

The closest Verstappen got to overhauling Norris proved to be the restart where Norris didn’t get the jump he’d have wanted and instead had to fend off Verstappen into Turn 1.

But thereafter Norris stretched his legs and built a comfortable leading margin over Verstappen.

Verstappen was far from happy with the balance of his RB20 all weekend and that continued into the race.

While Verstappen chased Norris he fumed: “I can’t get the car to turn, it’s a disaster”.

It left Norris clear to take the victory that got away from him at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix in his 110th start in F1.

Ferrari third-best

Ferrari had to settle for third best in Miami with Charles Leclerc securing the final spot on the podium.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz survived a skirmish with Piastri to take fourth but the latter picked up front wing damage that had to be replaced.

That ruined any chance of points for Piastri and Perez instead picked up fifth ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

RB’s Yuki Tsunoda was another to benefit from the safety car but like Norris, he put himself in that position with a stellar opening stint.

Tsunoda took seventh ahead of the second Mercedes of George Russell, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon who picked up Alpine’s first point of an otherwise miserable 2024 season so far.

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