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After 6,000 Laps Without a Win, Lando Norris Breaks Through in Miami

SportAfter 6,000 Laps Without a Win, Lando Norris Breaks Through in Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A smile kept creeping onto Lando Norris’s face throughout post-race media sessions.

His maiden Formula One victory has been a long-time coming. He’s come close a couple of times, only to be foiled by small errors, like in Qatar 2023, and things out of his control, like the rain and strategy calls from Sochi 2021. He joined the F1 grid in 2019 with McLaren as a 19-year-old, and now in his sixth season and heading into the Miami Grand Prix weekend, the Briton had secured one pole position, stood on the podium 15 times, and driven over 6,000 laps.

As each driver stopped in the media pen for interviews, nearly every one touched on the same point: It’s about time.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 5: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team congratulates Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren in parc ferme after winning his Formula 1 race at the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 5, 2024 in Miami, United States. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)


Fernando Alonso predicted this would be “the first of many wins” for Lando Norris. (Kym Illman/Getty Images)

“Well done to Lando,” Fernando Alonso said. “First win after so many podiums. I’m really happy for him. Hopefully he (remembers) this day — the first of many wins.” The Aston Martin driver wasn’t the only one who indicated that this wouldn’t be the final victory for the 24-year-old. Max Verstappen said, “I’m very happy for Lando. It’s been a long time coming. And it’s not going to be his last. He deserves it today.”

The victory came at a crucial moment in the sport. Over the last 28 grands prix, Red Bull has topped all but two races, Singapore 2023 and Australia 2024, both won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Verstappen has gone largely unchallenged, building a fairly decent lead race after race. But in Miami this weekend, McLaren took advantage of the chance it got to beat Red Bull in a straight fight. As Norris pulled ahead from Verstappen after the safety cars, it became a matter of fresh tires and clean air beating a wickedly fast car.

McLaren's British driver Lando Norris (R) is congratulated by Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen after winning the 2024 Miami Formula One Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 5, 2024. (Photo by Giorgio Viera / AFP)


“I’m very happy for Lando. It’s been a long time coming. And it’s not going to be his last. He deserves it today,” Max Verstappen (left) said of Lando Norris (right). (Giorgio Viera / AFP)

“He’s deserving of a race victory probably many, many years ago,” Mercedes’ George Russell said. “And I think for all the drivers in Formula One in this era of dominance from one team and one driver, it’s always great to see somebody get that chance to score a victory.”

Norris started last year’s Miami GP 16th and finished P17 for a struggling McLaren, which turned its season around in the second half of 2023. Now, it has its first win in three years. Oscar Piastri said he was “very happy for (Norris) and for the whole team, and I think we deserve it. Our trajectory in the last 12 months has been towards this moment.”

Lewis Hamilton reminisced about his first F1 victory, which also was with McLaren, back in 2007. The team still has “a big part of my heart,” he said, and was happy to see them win again. The Woking-based crew’s last F1 victory was with Daniel Ricciardo at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Before doing post-race interviews, it’s traditional for drivers to chat with their team briefly, crew members patting them on the helmet or back. Norris, though, launched himself over the barrier in joy, McLaren crew members equally as happy to embrace their new race winner. The emotion was overflowing.

“I’m just really happy for Lando. As much as we all want to beat each other and to come out on top, it’s always emotional to see so many emotions in one of your competitors,” Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc said. “We have all grown up together. I remember looking at Lando when he was in KF3, and we all had this same dream of being a Formula One driver someday.”

Norris is no a stranger to hate, memes and nicknames like “Lando No Wins” popping up on social media as people discuss his record. But the Briton says the words from those closest to him hold more meaning, and thanked his competitors for their praise and support. In parc ferme and the media pen, different drivers embraced Norris, congratulating him on this moment he’ll likely remember forever.

“As much as when you put the helmet on, you hate them, and you want to beat them, and you don’t care who’s who, I’ve always had respect for the people I’ve raced against. So when anyone comes up [to me], especially people who have achieved a lot, because it always means a little bit more,” Norris said. “So when Lewis, Fernando, Max, Charles, Carlos, whenever they come up to you or people have good words for you, I appreciate those things a lot. Because from these people, it means something. Maybe from others, it doesn’t.

“From these people, they’re the people who know what it takes to achieve these types of things for the work, the time, the effort that goes into doing something like this.”

(Lead photo of Lando Norris and George Russell: Giorgio Viera / AFP)


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