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What It Takes: Lando Norris’s First Win


Fifteen podiums, 110 race starts, yet no win. This was the career story of British racing driver Lando Norris prior to the Miami Grand Prix 2024. On May 5, Norris finally accomplished a feat that many can only dream of, a victory in Formula One. If you are unfamiliar, Formula One (F1) is an international racing series that started in Europe in 1950 and has since reached the title of the pinnacle of motorsport. With ten teams, twenty drivers, extraordinarily complex and fast cars, and tens of millions of dollars, F1 is a thrilling sport, bringing in 60-70 million viewers worldwide.

While any new race winner is exciting, what makes Norris’ victory special is the path he had to take. A rookie with McLaren in 2019, he immediately showed his value, placing sixth in his second F1 Grand Prix. And while the British driver has been able to produce many good results, one he could never seem to achieve was his first win, despite coming close on numerous occasions. One prime example of this is Sochi 2021, where Norris qualified on pole (first) and went on to lead the race, until it started raining and he made the decision to stay out on dry tires, resulting in him spinning out and losing the race win to Lewis Hamilton. Despite this, many stayed positive that Norris’ race win was a matter of when, not if, although it started to come into question at the beginning of the 2023 season, as McLaren’s performance dropped massively. While Norris stayed confident in the team, their last-place finishes made many question if they would be seeing a win from Norris anytime soon. By some miracle, the team turned it around, bringing major upgrades to the British Grand Prix, where Norris was able to lead a race once again, showing what the future could be in an era of Red Bull dominance.

Fast-forward to the Miami Grand Prix weekend. McLaren had been very competitive, especially in the last few races, with Norris scoring podiums in two of the five rounds so far. The start of the weekend was okay for McLaren, despite Norris having contact and having to DNF in the sprint. Once qualifying for the race came, the McLarens looked fine, but nothing special. Comfortably getting through to Q2 and Q3, the focus was on setting the fastest lap possible. However, with degrading tires and both drivers struggling to get the most out of the car, Norris qualified p5, just ahead of his teammate Piastri in p6. The lights go out and Norris drops to sixth as his teammate overtakes him. On laps 23 and 24, he then makes up positions and gets into third as drivers ahead pit for new tires. The race continues and as more drivers pit, Norris gets promoted to race leader. But now he needs to pit and luckily does while maintaining his position due to a safety car allowing him to make a pit stop in half the time. As Norris comes out, Verstappen is right behind him, and on the restart Norris narrowly avoids him to keep position. Nail-biting laps went by and slowly but surely, Norris extended his gap on Verstappen, getting closer to his coveted race win. Finally, the last lap commences and with a 7.7-second gap, it seems nothing can stop Norris now. He crossed the finish line as Formula One’s newest race winner. Crofty (commentator) utters words we’ve all been waiting for: “Norris trumps Verstappen and wins a Grand Prix for the first time in his career, Lando has landed!”

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