Championship on? Change in Red Bull mentality predicted after shock McLaren win

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen hugs F1's newest race winner, Lando Norris

Max Verstappen hugs F1's newest race winner, Lando Norris

Formula 1 could yet be in for a title fight with Jenson Button predicting McLaren’s Miami Grand Prix victory will force Red Bull into a “very different in the way of thinking” as they now have two rivals.

Unlike last season when Red Bull won all but one Grand Prix, the Milton Keynes squad already have two losses on the 2024 board with Carlos Sainz victorious in Australia before Lando Norris became F1’s newest race winner in Miami on Sunday.

‘Red Bull are going to have their eye on McLaren, not just Ferrari’

And he did so by beating Verstappen in a straight fight to the line.

Lining up P1 when the race was restarted after a Safety Car incident, Norris having been handed a free pit stop when Kevin Magnussen crashed into Logan Sargeant, the McLaren driver was challenged by Verstappen into Turn 1 but there was no way past.

After that failed challenge, Norris in the McLaren ‘2.0’ MCL38 began to pull away from the reigning World Champion to take the win by seven seconds, his first-ever F1 race victory.

It was a surprise result given Red Bull’s dominance, and it’s one that Button feels could ignite the championship race as Red Bull now have to keep an eye on both Ferrari and McLaren.

“Their correlation seems to be amazing at McLaren,” he told Sky Sports. “The upgrades they had last year in Silverstone made a massive difference. It did what it said on the tin.

“That’s the most difficult thing in Formula One.

“Yeah, you got to have all the great people within the team, but having that correlation, CFD, aero simulations, track – massive. Now they know they have confidence in it all they can just keep building on that and I hope it works on the tracks as well.

“Hopefully it’s not track-dependent here. Very different tracks the next couple but this is amazing, and I really do hope that it’s going to continue.

“The championship whatever happens happens. I think the next couple of races we’re going to have an eye on them the whole time.

“And Red Bull, they’re going to have their eye on them, not just Ferrari.

“So it’s very different in the way of thinking coming into a race weekend now from Red Bull knowing that they’ve got that challenge from McLaren, that strategy is a little different. They’ve got to be on their toes the whole time.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

No reason why McLaren ‘won’t keep going’ forwards

His fellow pundit Danica Patrick also lauded McLaren’s design team who brought no fewer than 10 upgrades to the Miami circuit, and did so on a Sprint weekend with just one practice hour.

She too reckons it’s game on now.

“They just brought 10. So I mean, if that’s the mentality, and that is possible, they have that in the budget, and they have the minds to create it, then I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t keep going.

“Norris really outshined Red Bull and Max, he just drove away from him.

“So look, it didn’t seem so obvious that the updates were responsible, but in the race, it sure looked like they were leaps and bounds better.

“I’m fingers crossed that it’s competitive all the way down to the end. That makes it so much more exciting and it’s just fun to see some new winners too.”

However, Verstappen with his P2 on the day still extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 35 points over Sergio Perez. Norris is up to fourth on 83 points.

Read next: Miami Grand Prix conclusions: McLaren, not Ferrari, are Red Bull’s biggest threat