Lando Norris roars home to snatch maiden F1 victory in chaotic Miami GP

The 24-year-old McLaren driver finally claimed his first win of his F1 career with a classy drive in a thrilling 2024 Miami Grand Prix

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Lando Norris saw off the challenge of 2024 championship leader Max Verstappen to claim an unforgettable first victory of his Formula 1 career in an incident-laden Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 24-year-old came into the weekend with 15 podium finishes to his name from 109 race starts, but the McLaren driver had never stepped on top of the podium before arriving in Florida. And he may have resigned himself to a podium finish at best after qualifying fifth on Saturday.

But with a combination of fortune from the safety car and a mature drive at the front, Norris finally ended his run as the driver with the most points in F1 history without a race win to his name.

He now joins the exclusive club of British winners including his Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Lando Norris during 2024 Miami GP | McLaren F1 Team
Lando Norris during 2024 Miami GP | McLaren F1 Team

His mission to the finish line was no doubt aided by Verstappen’s troubles, with the Dutchman complaining all weekend about a lack of grip in the RB20, labelling his race a “disaster” on the team radio.

And for the first time in 2024, he finished a race without taking a victory home as Charles Leclerc made up the rest of the podium in P3. Carlos Sainz claimed a well-deserved fourth after an enthralling battle with Oscar Piastri, who finished 13th after suffering damage to his front wing, with Sergio Perez fifth and Lewis Hamilton coming home in a season-best sixth.

Tension rises in Miami heat

At the very first corner, Perez came frighteningly close to wiping out the race leader Verstappen after locking up his front brakes, and in doing so the Mexican compromised his opening stint as he struggled to keep Norris behind him.

The two Ferraris were saddled behind Piastri, who had done a fine job in keeping a close gap to Verstappen and also both Scuderias behind him without DRS. The Australian made a brave overtake at the start after Sainz and Perez were held up, and then passed Leclerc following a lock-up by the Monegasque.

A cone on the track then forced the virtual safety car to be deployed, with Verstappen’s rare foray off the track causing him to hit the bollard. He pitted shortly after the VSC ended, leaving Piastri as the new race leader with a couple of seconds advantage over Sainz.

Max Verstappen had to settle for second at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

But Norris‘ luck turned when Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant collided to bring out the full safety car on Lap 28, giving Norris a free pit stop and the lead of the race. On Lap 32, it was time to go racing again and Norris, on the fresh rubber, built a fine gap over Verstappen to put himself out of DRS range.

Behind him, Piastri and Sainz clashed at Turn 11, leaving the Ferrari driver furious. But the stewards ruled the move required no further investigation despite the Spaniard’s complaints. Sainz would eventually get past as they touched wheels on Lap 40, and Piastri’s chance of scoring points was ruined after sustaining damage to his front wing.

As Verstappen struggled to find pace to catch Norris in the final stages, the Bristol-born driver put a comfortable buffer between himself and the three-time world champion, crossing the line after 57 long laps to savour his first win as an F1 driver to the delight of McLaren.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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