Monday, May 20, 2024

First World Championship victory for Lando Norris – beat Verstappen in Miami


Lando Norris on his way to victory in the Miami Grand Prix in his McLaren car. Photo: Wilfredo Lee, AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05.05.2024 23:44:02

Sport: The 24-year-old British McLaren driver had a fast car and delivered superb driving. He also had luck on his side when Logan Sargeant disappeared from the race and he was given a free pit visit while the safety car was out.

Norris was not threatened towards the end. He beat Red Bull driver Verstappen by 7.612 seconds, with Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the next places.

– Finally! I am so happy. I knew it when I got here this morning. I said “this is the day”. I love you all, Norris said over the team radio right after crossing the finish line.

The race was about to get off to a very dramatic start when Sergio Pérez passed the Ferrari cars and was about to run into teammate Verstappen in the first corner. That made both the Dutchman and the team management very upset.

Verstappen got away with the scare and took a clear lead as usual, but then he hit a cone and asked the team management to check if the front wing was damaged. He was called to the depot under a virtual safety car, but the wing turned out to be intact.

The British McLaren driver was given a free pit visit and with 25 laps to go he had the lead ahead of Verstappen and newer tyres. He fended off Verstappen’s attempt to pass straight after the restart, and then Norris drove away from the WC leader.

– I can’t get the car to turn. It’s a disaster, Verstappen complained over the team radio.

Towards the end, it was only a new safety car that could destroy Norris, which the other McLaren driver Oscar Piastri also got a clear message about over the team radio where he was fighting for positions at the back of the field.

Last year, Verstappen won 19 of 22 World Cup rounds, including 17 of the last 18, on his way to his third straight World Cup title. This year he won the first four races he completed. He had to wrestle in Australia.

On Sunday, Verstappen had to realize that Norris was the best. After 2nd place in Shanghai last time, the young Brit climbed all the way to the top for the first time. Before, he had 15 podium positions in 110 WC races.

On the 29th lap, Kevin Magnussen crashed with the American home favorite Sargeant, who disappeared out of the race, and the safety car had to come out. That benefited Norris, who, after having the fifth starting slot, was in the lead and drove very fast lap times.

Verstappen complained about poor grip all weekend, but he won both the sprint qualifying on Friday, the sprint race on Saturday and qualifying for the main race.

(© NTB)


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