Lando Norris Wins First Ever F1 Grand Prix and Red Bull Have a Right To Be Concerned

McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris 9 photos
Photo: McLaren Racing/autoevolution
McLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 driver Lando Norris
When Lando Norris crossed the finish line at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix, cementing his first-ever win in Formula 1, among the many congratulatory voices there were some who remained skeptical, believing that it was nothing more than a lucky victory, owed entirely to a Safety Car situation.
While it’s true that Norris took full advantage of the Safety Car, coming into the pits at just the right time, that one incident alone doesn’t tell the full story.

Max Verstappen, the man who everyone believed (and rightfully so) would go on to win the race, had every chance to attack Norris after racing resumed, yet the British driver was having none of that, pulling away from the reigning F1 World Champion with surprising ease. Sure, Verstappen spoke about his struggles during the race, but hey, all is fair in love and war, and that McLaren was a genuine rocketship.

Yesterday’s result also goes to show that Max Verstappen is indeed beatable. Like Agent Smith once said about Neo in The Matrix: “You see? He’s just a man.”

When the checkered flag dropped, Norris crossed the line no fewer than 7.61 seconds ahead of Verstappen, which is a monumental gap. It’s usually the type of gap that you’d see between the champ’s Red Bull and whoever it is that comes second. This is why Red Bull should be concerned – not because they lost, but rather because they lost by 7.61 seconds. Oh, and because Adrian Newey is leaving. That too.

“Today was a bit tricky. I think already on the medium [tires] 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!”, said Verstappen during his post-race interview.

“Once 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,” he added, before stating how happy he is to see Norris win his first-ever Formula 1 race.

McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris
Photo: McLaren Racing
Maybe a little less happy was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who started P3 on the grid and was brought into the pits one lap before the Safety Car was called – talk about rotten luck. The Scuderia did get one of their drivers on the podium, but it was Leclerc and not Sainz who finished third.

As for what Norris had to say following his maiden F1 victory – it was pretty much what you’d expect (happy, grateful, motivated). However, what really surprised me was him stating that he had known since Friday’s sessions that they had the pace to compete with Red Bull.

Following yesterday’s result, Norris moves into fourth place in the 2024 Driver Standings with 83 points. Leclerc is third with 98 points, while Perez and Verstappen have 103, and 136 points, respectively.

Next up on the calendar is the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, set to take place on May 19.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
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Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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