Norris takes satisfaction in answering his critics with Miami win

Lando Norris says his first Formula 1 victory at the Miami Grand Prix was made all the sweeter by the criticism he’s faced in the past for failing to win a race.

The McLaren driver beat Max Verstappen by over seven seconds in Miami to secure his first win at his 110th start, with the success coming after eight second-place finishes. Norris came closest to victory in Russia in 2021 when a late rainstorm caught his team out and he couldn’t complete the final few laps on slicks while leading, but he believes there has only been one chance to win a grand prix he feels he didn’t deliver on and that he knew he’d get to silence his critics.

“There was one opportunity, and that was Qatar last year,” Norris said. “To win the main race was maybe a bit more of an ask. I don’t know what Max’s [Verstappen] gap to Oscar [Piastri] and I was — like five seconds, six seconds, I think — so you can’t go against that and put that ever away. But as a Sprint race, the Sprint race was the loss.


“I don’t know if there was a main race that I’ve missed out on, to be honest. And that’s obviously the more valuable one — the one that means a lot more to you. So I kind of want to say no. I want to say I don’t think there was a Sunday where I’ve thrown stuff away.

“I’ve thrown away maybe a podium or a P2, but I think every opportunity to try and take a win, I’ve been there. There’s a couple of times when I’ve been blocked from those opportunities. One was Singapore last year, and Carlos [Sainz] took it. And another one was Australia this year, where the two Ferraris were ahead. Apart from that, there wasn’t a Sunday.

“And as much as people want to say there was this and that and Russia [2021] and Qatar, there wasn’t a Sunday I’ve missed out on a win because of something I’ve done wrong. There were pole positions. There was a Sprint race win. But nothing more than that. And I think that’s why I never lost faith.

“I never didn’t believe in what I could go out and do. So, happy to put that to bed and prove a lot of these people wrong. I go on Instagram and I like all the comments of people abusing me — I freaking love it. It makes me smile more than anything, especially ‘Lando No-wins.’ That’s become the thing.

“For me to finally prove those people wrong and prove to people that didn’t think I could go out and do it, it’s put an even bigger smile on my face. So I thank all of them.”

Insisting that Sochi never entered his mind in the closing laps of Sunday’s race, Norris says he was actually trying to think of a radio message to deliver after crossing the line, in the same way that Valtteri Bottas did when winning for Mercedes in Australia back in 2019 and again in Russia a year later.

“You’re always going to have people that don’t support you and people that do. When you’re out there on the podium and I do my in-lap, there’s a lot of people out there cheering you on and waving and congratulating. So I thank all of them.

“Of course, the people I keep closest to me — my team, my engineers, my manager, my trainer, my family — those are the people whose words you always take as something more meaningful.

“Anyone can say what they want. I’m always for that. People don’t need to like me. They don’t need to support me. I’m not always asking for those types of things. But yeah, when people doubt me in certain situations, you want to go out and prove them wrong.

“They think they know what they’re talking about and when you prove that they don’t, then that’s a nice thing to go out and do. So, yeah not like a dig at anyone. I wanted to say like the Valtteri line, ‘To whom it may concern’ but I was like, ‘That’s copyrighted,’ so I didn’t want to repeat it; but it’s just nice to just go out there and do my job and show people what I’m capable of.”

Story originally appeared on Racer