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Norris Triumphs in Miami Amid Final Lap Tension

Norris Reflects on Nail-Biting Final Laps: ‘No Room for Error’

06/05/2024

Lando Norris clinched victory in Miami, showcasing remarkable resilience and skill in his final, tense laps.

It was far from a given that Lando Norris could win his first Grand Prix in Miami: after the first turn, he was even in 6th place!

The Brit openly admitted after his victory that after the first lap, he didn’t really believe in the possibility of winning his first race yesterday…

“No. My hope faded very quickly!”

“I remained calm. I knew we had good pace, and I knew I could extend my stint. I was behind Checo for the whole first stint, but my pace at the end of the first stint was the best on track. And I could still see Max. And when you can see Max, there is hope. And it’s not often that you can see Max on track.”

“So, I always knew, even when I was back in 6th place, that there would be opportunities—if there was a safety car or if something went my way. I was very quick at the end of the first stint. I kept my head down. We continued to push. Everyone just lined up behind me, and I could use all the pace I had, which was a lot.”

Norris Triumphs in Miami Amid Final Lap Tension

Lando Norris thus took the lead following a controversial and lucky safety car, but which wouldn’t have changed the final outcome.

“I was able to extend my stint on the tires, be capable of having the pace I had. And it turned into a bit of luck, which I readily admit. Sometimes, you need a bit of luck on your side, and things have to go the right way, and I had that luck… I gladly accept it.”

However, the Brit appeared nervous at the restart, allowing Max Verstappen to close up right after the green light…

“I haven’t led a race after a safety car for quite a few years. Yeah, just a bit rusty. That’s all. I’ll make sure to work a bit harder next time. But yes, as long as I defended well in Turn 1 and kept the lead in Turn 1, I was sure I could continue.”

“The pace was therefore quite good in the first stint. It may not have seemed so at the very start, simply because I was stuck behind a lot of cars. But with clean air and fresher tires, I was able to push and I was a bit cautious.”

Lando Norris’s pace was particularly impressive, on mediums and even more so on hard tires. He saw it coming…

Norris Triumphs in Miami Amid Final Lap Tension

“But I had already said on Friday, I felt good. I was confident on Friday and that kind of feeling has come back to me often. It was good. Lately, many Sundays have been very good. We just managed to step it up and turn it into something more.”

Can Lando Norris describe his final laps? The entire McLaren F1 pit wall was shaking!

“I wanted to set the fastest lap on the last lap. But I imagined Andrea (Stella) on the pit wall, telling me ‘no, Lando, please’. I thought I needed to bring the car home and calm down. But meanwhile, I wanted to break away, and I didn’t want Max in the picture as I crossed the line, and I don’t think he was. So, job done. I’m very pleased.”

“I pushed, my engineer was giving me updates on the gap, and I felt I was getting into my groove and pulling away—and I didn’t feel I had to do anything more.”

“I don’t know, I’m shaking like mad because I wanted to keep all my champagne on me and now I’m really cold. And, of course, your mind wanders a bit. That’s my case. It might not be the case for everyone. But, you know, the walls sometimes close in, and you have these little moments where you tell yourself, ‘OK, don’t screw this up’. But I was also improving my laps and getting faster with each lap. So I had a lap time to focus on. And I wanted to try for the best lap. I don’t know if I made it or not, but I had something to focus on which helped me not to think about the bad things, and so everything was alright.”

Norris Triumphs in Miami Amid Final Lap Tension

Is McLaren F1 a genuine challenger to Red Bull?

It’s no coincidence that Lando Norris displayed such pace this weekend: the McLaren F1 team introduced a significant package of upgrades.

With these new components, does the Miami race winner now see the McLaren F1 as a car that measures up?

“I said at the start of the year that we could win races. A lot of people doubted that. I think they doubted that McLaren could win races. They doubted that I could win races. But I was confident. Deep down, I knew our time had come.”

“The team has done an extraordinary job. We weren’t even in Q2 here last year. Now that we are at the top, having won a race… the team has done an incredible job. We have made progress, especially over the last two months. There has been a lot of work.”

“And every time you bring an upgrade, it’s not easy to get going, to execute, and to show that it’s better. So, of course, I have to say a big thank you to everyone at McLaren, everyone at the factory, everyone here, because I doubt… There would have been much less chance of me winning without these upgrades and without the hard work put into all of this.”

“So, I would like to say that this is a start. And now, I already want to know more. But yes, we’ll keep our heads down. We will continue to push and I am sure that we can be here much more often.”

Norris Triumphs in Miami Amid Final Lap Tension. Norris Triumphs in Miami Amid Final Lap Tension. F1 2024

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