Formula 1

Formula 1: Lando Norris wins first for the first time in F1 at the Miami Grand Prix

Feature Image credit: @F1

Lando Norris takes a first career victory in F1 in Miami after making use of a mid race safety car and superior pace to Verstappen.

Sergio Perez had almost caused a commotion at the start as he went into turn 1 very deep, almost hitting Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz. Perez going deep allowed for Oscar Piastri to manoeuvre his way up into second place with some strong car positioning.

Further back in the grid and both of the Alpines were fighting side by side for multiple corners, including through the tight chicane at the start of sector 3, as they battled for supremacy, a battle that Pierre Gasly won for the time being. Nico Hulkenberg also overtook Lewis Hamilton to get into 7th place, giving hamilton more Haas headaches following on from his fight with Kevin Magnussen yesterday.

Charles Leclerc found himself following Oscar Piastri rather closely for quite a while, though was unable to get past on track. This frustrated his teammate Carlos Sainz, who felt he had superior pace in order to maximise Ferrari’s points, though the team never gave the order to swap the cars around.

Lewis Hamilton was able to initially overtake Hulkenberg with a lot less fuss than he had with Magnussen yesterday, although his hard work had been undone when he locked up into the hairpin of turn 17, gifting the place back to the German. Hamilton would attempt to re-overtake though, this time making the move stick.

Max Verstappen had managed to pull out a gap of a couple of seconds by this point, though was struggling to extend by any significant margin each lap. The reigning world champion had been complaining of the car suffering from understeer, showing the first signs that today might not go the way that he would have hoped.

Lando Norris had been sticking with Sergio Perez as the Brit aimed to take fifth place from the Red Bull driver. However, when Perez went into the pits on lap 18, instead of responding and stopping himself, Norris had gone on to use the free air to chase down Sainz instead, a call that looked inspired in hindsight.

And Norris was cutting the gap to Sainz emphatically, and had set multiple fastest laps in order to get within two seconds of the Ferrari before he stopped on lap 27.

Just a few laps before Sainz’s pit stop though, there had been a virtual safety car brought out as a result of debris needing to be cleared from the track, which came from Max Verstappen knocking over a bollard after having to cut the slow chicane section. Whilst the VSC period was short, Verstappen would go in for his one and only pit stop on lap 24 under regular green flag conditions.

Lap 29 would bring out the safety car, after Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant had a crash at turn 3. Magnussen was deemed at fault for the collison, and was handed a 10 second penalty, his fifth penalty of the weekend.

The safety car had significantly benefited Lando Norris, who was propelled from having an outside chance for a fight for the podium to a fight for the win. Given that he hadn’t stopped yet, he was able to save a lot of time due to the slower speeds the other competitors were running out. He came out in the lead of the race, and once green flag running resumed, he was able to maintain his position in spite of fierce opposition from Max Verstappen.

Lando Norris had began to pull away after the safety car as well. First he had broken out of DRS range, then he pulled a two second gap, three second gap, four. Verstappen simply had no answer as the lead uncharacteristically slipped away from him and Red Bull.

Norris’ teammate Piastri was trying to do everything he could to help score McLaren as many points as possible, having now found himself in fourth behind Leclerc, and now having to fend off Sainz behind. Piastri had forced the Spaniard off track in his defence down at turn 11, a move that Sainz was incensed about, hoping that McLaren could either be convinced into having Piastri concede the position, or have the McLaren man be given a penalty for this.

No action would be needed in the end, as Sainz would end up making an overtake on Piastri down at turn 17 on lap 40, though this was far from the cleanest of moves. Sainz appeared to lock up through the corner, making some contact with the front wing of Piastri. Whilst Sainz’s car was ultimately okay, Piastri’s was not, and he had to come in to replace his front wing not long after, killing what had been a pretty strong race for the Australian.

After having already been given his 10 second penalty for the incident with Sargeant, it was revealed on lap 47 that Kevin Magnussen found himself under investigation for having not served this penalty correctly, making his nightmare weekend even worse.

The laps began to count down as victory for Norris looked more and more likely. Battles still raged on throughout the field, such as the damage limitation drive from Piastri and Hamilton’s chase for 5th place, but all eyes were on Lando Norris.

When the chequered flag fell, it was Norris who came through in first place for the first time in his Formula 1 career. After 110 career starts and 14 podiums prior to today, he finally managed to take the chequered flag.

This became McLaren’s first grand prix victory since the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, a race that Norris finished runner up. He had nearly won the following race, the Russian Grand Prix, though rain put an end to those plans. This is the first win of any kind for McLaren since Piastri’s sprint race victory in Qatar last year, and the first time Red Bull have been beaten by anyone other than Carlos Sainz since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Prior to this victory, Norris had became the driver with the most podiums without a podium without a victory. However, now that his 15th visit to the top 3 ended on the top step, that record now goes back to Nick Heidfeld with 13.

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