Miami Grand Prix: Congratulations from Trump: Formula 1 finest hour for Lando Norris

Formula 1 breathes a sigh of relief: Max Verstappen can still lose. Lando Norris takes his first career win in Miami and crowns the McLaren team's amazing recovery.

In the rush of his debut victory in Formula 1, even the congratulations from surprise guest Donald Trump were just a side note for Lando Norris. After his coup in Miami, the McLaren driver politely thanked the former US president, who probably used the horsepower stage for election campaign purposes.

But amidst the exuberant party scenes, the 24-year-old enjoyed the feeling of having finally shown the doubters with his triumph in the 110th Grand Prix. “I knew my time would come,” Norris said more than once.

Unlike several missed opportunities in the past, racing luck favored the Brit in Florida. For a long time on Sunday it looked like another one of those victories for Max Verstappen that had become a tiring habit. But a safety car phase in the middle of the race pushed Norris into the lead, and the young McLaren star was then unstoppable even by the world champion in the Red Bull, which this time was lame. “I'm very happy that Lando beat me today, he really deserves it,” said second-placed Verstappen.

Norris praises McLaren team for “crazy job”

When the work was done, Norris let out a sharp cry of joy and let his mechanics carry him in their hands for a moment. “It was about time,” he confessed. Norris went into the sixth Grand Prix weekend of the year as the driver with the most podium finishes who had never achieved a Formula 1 victory. “A lot of people doubted my ability to win races and perform under the pressure of leading a race. Especially with Max behind me. But this year I was more confident than ever,” said Norris.

The son of a very wealthy stock broker was promoted to regular driver by McLaren for the 2019 season. He demonstrated his enormous talent early on and has long been considered a potential world champion of the future. But as in Russia 2021, when he led the race for a long time from pole position before making a mistake when choosing tires in the rain, Norris missed a few opportunities for victory number one.

Last year, McLaren was still in deep crisis; both cars didn't even make it into the second qualifying round in Miami. “The fact that we are now at the top and have won a race shows the crazy job the team has done,” enthused Norris.

Formula 1 is hoping for a trend reversal in the World Cup race

The turning point for the traditional racing team came primarily with the new team boss Andrea Stella, who was promoted at the beginning of the previous season and who had quickly led McLaren back into the circle of the strongest Red Bull hunters by the second half of 2023. “We kept the momentum. Today is another important step and hopefully the start of greater success,” said the 53-year-old.

Nobody in the paddock at the Hard Rock Stadium begrudged McLaren and especially Norris this great moment. Even Ferrari team boss Frédéric Vasseur joined in the celebrations and sprayed champagne exuberantly. “It was also good for Formula 1 overall that three teams at the front could fight for victory. That's good for the show, good for the fans,” said the Frenchman, whose hopeful Charles Leclerc came third.

After four Verstappen victories in the first five races of the season, what happened in Miami fueled hopes that this World Cup could be a little more exciting than the two monotonous previous years. “I’m already hungry for more,” assured Norris.

Party orders from the McLaren boss for Norris

Verstappen, however, was still calm. After a driving error, he cleared a bollard and caused massive damage to the underbody, meaning he could no longer keep up with Norris. “That also has to do with the route,” the Dutchman explained his weaknesses in Florida. Thanks to his victory in the sprint on Saturday, the 26-year-old still took home the most World Championship points of all drivers and even extended his lead in the overall standings.

But such arithmetic games did not interest the unleashed Norris. Team managing director Zak Brown quickly rebooked the premiere winner on a return flight on Monday and issued a party order. “I won’t sleep and I’ll give it my all,” promised Norris.