Lando Norris Pounces on Safety Car Opportunity to Win F1 Miami Grand Prix

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Norris Earns F1 Miami Win After Verstappen MiscueJIM WATSON - Getty Images

Lando Norris became the 114th different winner of a Formula 1 race at the third edition of the Miami Grand Prix, ending his and McLaren’s long wait for success.

Autoweek rounds up the main talking points from the Miami International Autodrome.

Norris’ Coming of Age

It’s been a while coming, it was always going to happen, and at long last it has.

At the 110th time of asking, and after 15 podiums, including a couple of near-misses, Lando Norris is finally a F1 Grand Prix winner. There was an element of fortune involved, with the timing of the Safety Car lifting Norris from a contender into the leader, but the young Briton had rapid pace in the upgraded MCL38, which he was able to unleash once freed from the train of cars ahead.


Extending his first stint longer than his rivals catapulted Norris from fifth place into the lead, from where he was advantageously able to make his sole pit stop under the Safety Car, re-emerging still at the front.

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Lando Norris finally got the big prize at a Formula 1 Grand Prix.Clive Mason - Getty Images

At the restart, Norris was able to pull clear of second-placed Verstappen, and the Red Bull driver had no answer for Norris’ pace, with the McLaren driver eventually chalking up win number one by seven seconds.

Unsurprisingly there was a deluge of emotions from Norris as he crossed the line, screaming on the radio, before leaping into the arms of his McLaren mechanics in parc ferme. The host of drivers who lined up to congratulate him—the likes of Lewis Hamilton, former team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz, and Fernando Alonso—highlighted how rivals were genuinely delighted that he finally mounted the top step of the podium.

“To get that first victory is always incredible,” said Norris. “I’ve of course had my moments where I’ve been close, and I’ve never been able to convert it into the win. But I wasn’t worried. As much as a lot of people doubted that I was going to be able to put it together and win a race, I wasn’t worried. I’ve been more confident than ever this year that I’ve got what it takes and the team has got what it takes. It was an incredible race.”

It was a sign of how far McLaren had come in the last 12 months that Norris was knocked out of Q1 and raced to only 17th place in Miami last year.

“I said it at the beginning of the year that we can win races,” said Norris. “Deep down, I knew that we had our time coming. We’re on top, we’ve won a race, the team have done an insane job to go from where we were to where we are now. And we’ve chipped away.”

Norris was meant to be on a flight back to Europe straight after the race on Sunday evening but McLaren chief Zak Brown gave the all-clear to delay that another day to celebrate.

“This only happens once when you take your first win,” said a smiling Norris, adding “I might have more than just a scratch on my nose tomorrow,” referring to a cut he sustained while in Amsterdam last weekend.

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Max Verstappen finished second but still extended his lead in the championship.Mark Thompson - Getty Images

Verstappen Still Extends Title Lead

Given that Max Verstappen was eliminated from the Australian Grand Prix through reliability, this was the World Champion’s first on-track defeat since the Singapore Grand Prix last September.

The timing of the safety car was fortuitous for Norris, but through most of the weekend Verstappen was never fully comfortable behind the wheel of the RB20—despite claiming Sprint victory and pole position, and did not display the usual commanding authority.

Verstappen led the opening half of the Grand Prix on Sunday, but his margin over then nearest rival Oscar Piastri rarely extended to more than a few seconds, while he wiped out the bollard on the apex of Turn 14 after running wide.

Verstappen had no answer to Norris’ pace in the second half of the race, and briefly had to keep an eye on third-placed Charles Leclerc, though despite the rarity of not winning Verstappen still extended his title advantage to 35 points.

Verstappen was circumspect at the manner of the defeat, congratulating good friend Norris, before laughing that he wanted to test the durability of the front wing by hitting the bollard.

“You win, you lose,” said Verstappen. “We’re all used to that in racing, right? Today was a bit tricky. I think already on the Mediums it didn’t feel fantastic, we were pulling away but not like it should be.

"Then once we made a pit stop I heard what the lap times McLaren were doing and I was like, ‘Well, that’s pretty quick! Once then they also switched onto the Hard tire, they just had more pace, especially Lando he was flying. It was incredibly difficult for us on that stint but if a bad day is P2 I take it.”

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Kevin Magnussen needs to run the rest of the season clean or risk two penalty points and a one-race suspension.Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Haas' Magnussen Closer to Race Suspension

Kevin Magnussen earned penalties for playing the team game on Saturday, but on Sunday it was a clumsy piece of driving that brought the Dane yet another sanction.

Magnussen collided with sole U.S. representative Logan Sargeant into Turn 3, pitching the Williams driver into the wall and consequent retirement, bringing to an end what had been a quietly effective weekend for the Floridian.

Magnussen received a 10-second time penalty but also copped two penalty points for the incident, and was then also handed a 20-second time penalty for failing to serve the penalty correctly.

The Sargeant clash brings Magnussen up to 10 penalty points, all of which have been earned in 2024, meaning he must navigate the remainder of the season—18 races and 4 Sprint races—without picking up another two penalty points. Drivers receive a one-event suspension if they amass 12 penalty points within a 12-month period and while no driver has hit that threshold since the system was introduced, Magnussen is now as close as anyone has ever been.

He also faces a sizeable period of time in which he must avoid another error.

“It wasn’t a good day, again,” said Magnussen. “Hopefully I can get some clarity on things going forward. What happened today, of course it’s not good, but nonetheless we try to move on and have a better weekend next weekend.”

Haas would need a replacement driver for one weekend in the event of Magnussen picking up another two penalty points between now and Abu Dhabi; Ferrari youngster Oliver Bearman is Haas’ reserve driver.

Haas went away empty-handed from Sunday’s race as Nico Hulkenberg finished 11th, one position outside of the points, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon picking up his and the team’s first top 10 finish of the campaign.

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McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrates his first Formula 1 victory on Sunday in Miami.Kym Illman - Getty Images


F1 Miami Grand Prix

  1. Lando Norris, McLaren, 57 laps, 1:30:49.876, 25 points

  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +7.612 seconds, 18 points

  3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +9.920, 15 points

  4. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +11.407, 12 points

  5. Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +14.650, 10 points

  6. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +16.585, 8 points

  7. Yuki Tsunoda, RB, +26.185, 6 points

  8. George Russell, Mercedes, +34.789, 4 points

  9. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +37.107, 2 points

  10. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +39.746, 1 point

  11. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, +40.789

  12. Pierre Gasly, Alpine, +44.958

  13. Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +49.756

  14. Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber, +49.979

  15. Daniel Ricciardo, RB, +50.956

  16. Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber, +52.356

  17. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +55.173

  18. Kevin Magnussen, +1:04.683

  19. Alexander Albon, Williams, +1:16.091

  20. Logan Sargeant, Williams, +30 laps

Updated Constructors Standings

  1. Red Bull, 237

  2. Ferrari, 189

  3. McLaren 124

  4. Mercedes 64

  5. Aston Martin 42

  6. RB 19

  7. Haas 7

  8. Alpine 1

  9. Williams 0

  10. Kick Sauber 0

Updated Driver Standings

  1. Max Verstappen, 136

  2. Sergio Perez, 101

  3. Charles Leclerc, 98

  4. Carlos Sainz, 85

  5. Lando Norris, 83

  6. Oscar Piastri 41

  7. George Russell, 37

  8. Fernando Alonso 33

  9. Lewis Hamilton 27

  10. Yuki Tsunoda 14

  11. Lance Stroll 9

  12. Oliver Bearman 6

  13. Nico Hulkenberg 6

  14. Daniel Ricciardo 5

  15. Esteban Ocon 1

  16. Kevin Magnussen 1

  17. Alexander Albon 0

  18. Zhou Guanyu 0

  19. Pierre Gasly 0

  20. Valtteri Bottas 0