Lando Norris sheds 'NoWins' label with breakthrough victory at Miami Grand Prix

McLaren driver wins his first Formula One race after a record 15 podiums without climbing onto the top step

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Lando Norris said he was delighted to prove the doubters wrong as the McLaren driver capitalised on some good fortune to win the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, holding off world champion Max Verstappen for his first Formula One victory.

Breathing life into an F1 season that risked becoming a one-man story again, Norris, in his 110th race for McLaren, beat Verstappen by over seven seconds with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finishing third.

Triple champion Verstappen, who began on pole, had won four of the opening five races of the season and leads the world championship standings.

It looked like business as usual with the Dutchman, who had won the previous two Miami races, leading until lap 24 when he pitted and Norris's McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri took over the lead.

Australian Piastri himself went into the pits four laps later, allowing Norris to grab the lead and the British driver never looked back.

Crucially, Norris was able to pit during a safety car on lap 30, earning him a valuable time advantage which he never relinquished.

The safety car came after Kevin Magnussen clipped Logan Sargeant, sending the American Williams driver into the wall, bringing a yellow flag.

Norris took full advantage of the safety car and with Verstappen struggling to catch up, he secured his maiden victory. It was the first time Verstappen had been beaten on track when he finished the race, since Ferrari's Carlos Sainz won in Singapore in September last year.

Norris came into Miami having had a record 15 podium finishes without a win, with eight of those second-place finishes.

Near-misses, such as at Sochi in 2021 when he led late but paid the price for failing to switch tyres in time during heavy rain, led to some taunting of Norris including the online nickname 'Lando NoWins'

While he was all smiles after his victory, he was not going to miss the chance for a defiant reply to his critics.

"I am happy to put that to bed and prove a lot of these people wrong," he told his post-race press conference. "I love it to go on Instagram and like all the comments from people abusing me, I freaking love it, makes me smile more than anything, especially 'Lando NoWins', that's become the thing.

"For me to prove those people wrong and prove (to) the people who didn't think I could go out and do it, it's going to be an even bigger smile on my face today, so I thank all of them."

Norris insisted that he had always had faith in his ability to win a Grand Prix and asked if it was a weight off his shoulders to finally clinch one, he couldn't deny the reality.

"As much as I want to say no, it's a yes. To get that first victory is always incredible. I've of course had my moments where I've been close, and I've never been able to convert it into the win," he said.

"But I wasn't worried. As much as a lot of people doubted that I was going to be able to put it together and win a race, I wasn't worried."

Norris said he was able to find time to savour the moment when he finally broke through.

"I dream of these days sometimes. You never know when they're going to come towards you, but today was that day," he said. "As much as my mind was going crazy, I was thinking a lot of things, I was also quiet. It's just a bit lonely out there at times and it's nice to reflect on everything you've done to get to this point."

Updated: May 06, 2024, 5:38 AM