Formula 1 Miami: Lando Norris wins Grand Prix and beats Verstappen

Formula 1 surprise in Miami: McLaren young star Lando Norris duped world champion Max Verstappen and won a Grand Prix for the first time. The Brit took advantage of a favorable safety car phase in the heat of Florida, took the lead halfway through the race and didn't relinquish it until the finish.

In his 110th Grand Prix, Lando Norris relegated Red Bull long-time winner Max Verstappen to second place, while Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari came third. In the sixth race of the season there was a winner other than Verstappen for the second time, who had previously only failed to reach the finish first when he retired in Australia. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz won in Melbourne, and this time Norris provided the longed-for change at the top. In the overall standings, however, triple champion Verstappen continues to lead confidently ahead of his teammate Sergio Pérez. Nico Hülkenberg missed the points in eleventh place.

Formula 1 viewership record at third Grand Prix in Miami

As in previous years, Miami presented itself as a brightly colored spectacle with a high density of celebrities. Even former US President Donald Trump, who has his Mar-a-Lago estate nearby, showed up at the paddock at Hard Rock Stadium. Fifa President Gianni Infantino, former football superstar Zinedine Zidane, pop idol Ed Sheeran and footballer Travis Kelce also caught the attention of fans. In keeping with this, the organizers reported a record number of spectators at the third edition of the race in Florida's metropolis.

Perennial winner Verstappen won the first two guest appearances. And the Dutchman simply continued with it at first. On Saturday he also secured victory in the second sprint race of the year, although he complained about the poor handling of his company car. A few hours later, Verstappen also took pole position for the main race.

From the best starting position, the defending champion immediately took the lead, as befits his status. Next to him, Leclerc came off badly. Behind him, Pérez raced cockily towards the first corner and almost caused a crash. The Mexican only narrowly missed the rear of his teammate Verstappen. The two Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sainz were also lucky that there was no collision.

Verstappen was then able to quickly build up a cushion and control the race. The first pursuer was soon the Australian Oscar Piastri. The 23-year-old took advantage of the start and rushed from sixth to third. He soon overtook Leclerc and was now second.

Haas veteran Hülkenberg also got going well at first, even overtaking record world champion Lewis Hamilton in the first few laps and taking seventh place. But later his racing luck ran out and he remained without points. Before the trip to Miami, the 36-year-old had secured his long-term future in Formula 1 and signed a contract with Audi. Next year he will drive for Audi partner Sauber, and from 2026 he will be a works driver for the car manufacturer from Ingolstadt when it enters the premier class.

Winner Lando Norris uses the safety car phase

After a good twelve laps the work of the pit crews began, the first tire changes caused confusion in the field. Leader Verstappen himself caused further excitement. After a driving error, he cleared a bollard on the side of the track and shouted into the radio: “Check my front wing.” But the damage was probably limited. A virtual safety car briefly slowed down the field for the clean-up work, Verstappen got new rubber rollers a little later and seemed to be still on course for victory.

But then an accident between Kevin Magnussen in the Haas and Williams driver Logan Sargeant brought new tension. This time the real safety car was deployed. McLaren driver Norris benefited because he delayed his pit stop. Because the field was slowed down, the 24-year-old lost less time at the garage and was now leading Verstappen.

At the restart, Norris cleverly maintained first place and was then able to keep the world champion at bay. A tough duel between Sainz and Piastri deprived the McLaren driver of all chances. While Sainz rolled towards the finish in fourth place, Piastri had to pit with a damaged car and fell far behind. However, his stable rival Norris was no longer in danger at the front and threw McLaren into a frenzy of joy with his victory.

For Lando Norris, his first victory in Formula 1 was long overdue. “It was about time. It's been hinting at it for a long time, I've finally done it,” said the McLaren driver after his success at the Grand Prix in Miami on Sunday.