Perfect timing takes Norris to triumphant first F1 victory in Miami

Lando Norris finally ended his wait for a Formula 1 win, dominating the Miami Grand Prix after a timely safety car.

The McLaren driver inherited the lead from Max Verstappen during the pit stop cycle as Norris chose to wait to make his stop. The strategy paid off when Kevin Magnussen took out Logan Sargeant on lap 28 and handed McLaren what amounted to be a free stop a lap later.

When the race resumed on lap 33, a hesitant getaway from Norris was redeemed when Verstappen made a mistake at Turn 8, then faced further pressure from Charles Leclerc four corners later. That helped Norris stretch out a lead, holding a 1.239s advantage after a lap and taking him out of the Red Bull’s DRS range.


From there, Norris was untouchable, eventually crossing the line 7.612s ahead of Verstappen. It continued the run of Miami winners not coming from pole, while ending Verstappen’s unbeaten run in the United States stretching back to 2021.

“About time, huh?” said Norris, whose win comes on his 110th start – matching the same number of races for McLaren as Lewis Hamilton. “What a race. It’s been a long time coming but finally I’ve managed to do it for my whole team; I finally delivered for them.

“Long day, tough race, but finally on top so I’m over the moon.”

Norris retired from the sprint on Saturday, and dropped a position on the start of the Grand Prix, but ultimately a combination of the team’s perfectly-executed strategy and Norris’ outright pace allowed him to prevail on Sunday.

“The whole weekend’s been good. I’ve just had some little setbacks along the way but I knew on Friday we had the pace,” he said. “Just a couple mistakes here and there, but today we managed to put it together. We had the perfect strategy; it all paid off.”

For Verstappen, his first on-track defeat since last year’s Singapore Grand Prix came on a day where he struggled on the harder tires which he switched to on lap 23 – a lap after he collided with a bollard at Turn 15 which necessitated a brief Virtual Safety Car.


His first stint on the medium tires enabled him to maintain the lead from pole, albeit not in his customary dominant fashion — his gap over early podium contender Oscar Piastri sitting at around 2s. The switch to the harder compound only led to further struggles, with the Dutchman even describing his car as “a disaster” over the radio at one point.

“You win, you lose. I think we’re all used to that in racing, right?” said Verstappen. “Today was just a bit tricky. Already on the mediums I didn’t feel fantastic. We were pulling away, but not like it should be, and then once we made a pit stop and I heard what lap times the McLarens were doing, I was like, ‘Wow that’s pretty quick.’

“Once they switched onto the hard tire they just had more pace — especially Lando; he was flying. It was incredibly difficult for us in that stint, but if a bad day is P2, I’ll take it.”

Leclerc finished third, recovering from a poor start where he was swamped by both Piastri and Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.

Piastri didn’t take long to apply the pressure on Leclerc, however, and looked as if he would be the higher finishing McLaren at one point after getting by Sainz on the first lap, and then Leclerc when the Monegasque driver pitted on lap 19.

Leclerc got back ahead when Piastri and Sainz pitted on lap 27, with the latter pair then engaging in a tense on-track battle, but contact between them at the end of lap 40 forced Piastri to pit for a new front wing, ending any hope of a points finish.

Sainz, meanwhile, was able to finish fourth ahead of Sergio Perez, who almost took out Verstappen on the opening lap when he ran too deep into Turn 1.

Hamilton finished sixth, with George Russel eighth. The Mercedes pair split by Yuuki Tsunoda – both Britons prevailing after an early race fight with Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg, who ultimately wound up 11th.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon completed the top 10, the Aston Martin driver getting round the outside of the Alpine at Turn 11 on lap 48. Nevertheless, tenth for Ocon ends Alpine’s wait for a first points finish of the year.

After the contact with Sainz, Piastri recovered to finish 13th, behind Pierre Gasly. Piastri netted the fastest lap of the race, although he was unable to snatch the bonus point for it, finishing outside the top 10.

Story originally appeared on Racer