May 30, 2024


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F1 drivers react to Norris’ first win in Miami: ‘It’s been a long time coming’

F1 drivers react to Norris’ first win in Miami: ‘It’s been a long time coming’

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Lando Norris’ face was always smiling throughout the post-race media sessions.

His first Formula 1 win has been a long time coming. He has come close several times, but has been thwarted by small mistakes, such as in Qatar 2023, and things beyond his control, such as rain and strategy calls from Sochi 2021. He joined the Formula 1 grid in 2019 with McLaren in 19th. Years ago, now in its sixth season and heading into the Miami Grand Prix weekend, the Briton has claimed two pole positions, 15 podium finishes and more than 6,000 laps.

As each driver stopped into the media pen for interviews, nearly every one touched on the same point: It’s about time.

Fernando Alonso expects this to be the “first of many victories” for Lando Norris. (Kim Elman/Getty Images)

“Well done Lando,” said Fernando Alonso. “First win after many podiums. I’m really happy for him. I hope he (remembers) this day – the first of many.” The Aston Martin driver was not the only one to point out that this would not be the final victory for the adult player. 24-year-old Max Verstappen said: “I’m very happy for Lando. It’s been a long time coming. It won’t be his last. “He deserves that day.”

The victory came at a crucial moment in the sport. Over the last 28 Grands Prix, Red Bull has led in all but two races, Singapore 2023 and Australia 2024, both won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Verstappen went largely unchallenged, building up to a fairly good race after race. But in Miami this weekend, McLaren made the most of its opportunity to beat Red Bull in a back-to-back battle. With Norris ahead of Verstappen after the safety cars, it became a matter of new tires and clean air over a very fast car.

British McLaren driver Lando Norris (right) receives congratulations from Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen after winning the 2024 Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 5, 2024. (Photo by Giorgio Vieira / France Press agency) )

“I’m very happy for Lando. It’s been a long time coming. It won’t be his last. He deserves that day,” Max Verstappen (left) said of Lando Norris (right). (Giorgio Vieira/AFP)

“He deserved to win the race for probably many years,” said Mercedes driver George Russell. “And I think for all the drivers in Formula 1 in this era of one team and one driver, it’s always great to see someone get that opportunity to take victory.”

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Norris started last year’s Miami GP 16th and finished 17th for struggling McLaren, which turned its season around in the second half of 2023. Now he has taken his first win in three years. Oscar Piastri said he was “very happy for (Norris) and for the whole team, and I think we deserve it. Our path over the past 12 months has been towards this moment.”

Lewis Hamilton recalled his first Formula 1 win, also with McLaren, in 2007. He said the team still had a “big part of my heart” and was happy to see them win again. The Woking-based crew’s last Formula 1 victory was with Daniel Ricciardo at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Before post-race interviews, it is usual for drivers to chat briefly with their team, with crew members patting them on the helmet or back. However, Norris launched himself over the barrier in joy, and the McLaren crew were also happy to embrace the new race winner. The emotion was overflowing.

“I’m really happy for Lando. As much as we all want to beat each other and come out on top, it’s always emotional to see so much emotion in one of your rivals,” Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc said. “We’ve all grown up together. I remember looking up to Lando when he was in KF3, and we all had the same dream of becoming F1 drivers one day.

Norris is no stranger to hate, with memes and nicknames like “Lando No Wins” popping up on social media as people discuss his record. But the Briton says that the words of those close to him carry a greater meaning, and he thanked his competitors for their praise and support. At Parc Ferme and Media Pen, different drivers embraced Norris, congratulating him on a moment he will likely remember forever.

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“As much as when you put the helmet on, you hate them, you want to beat them, you don’t care who it is, I’ve always respected the people I’ve raced against. So when anyone comes up [to me]“Especially people who have achieved a lot, because that always means a little bit more,” Norris said. “So when Luis, Fernando, Max, Charles, Carlos come to you, or when people say good words to you, I appreciate these things very much. Because from these people, it means something. Maybe from others, no.

“From those people, they are the people who know what it takes to make these kinds of things happen in order to put in the work, the time, the effort that goes into doing something like this.”

(Main photo of Lando Norris and George Russell: Giorgio Vieira/AFP)