Lando Norris makes huge admission after ending long wait for first F1 victory

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris poses with his P1 trophy after winning the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris.

While Lando Norris would love to claim that his extended wait for a Formula 1 victory was not acting as a weight on his shoulders, he admitted that it was as he shed it in Miami.

Regarded as one of the brightest talents on the Formula 1 grid, victory had continued to elude Norris, that was until the 2024 Miami Grand Prix, as his strategy – rewarded by the perfect timing of the Safety Car – saw Norris pit from and retain the lead, as he went on to pull away from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to secure that first F1 win.

Lando Norris admits Miami GP win weight off his shoulders

Norris said he had dreamt of this day finally arriving, explaining how his final stint on the road to victory became a “lonely” period of reflection on everything leading up to this point.

Asked after the race how it felt to take to that top step of the podium, Norris replied: “It felt incredible. There’s a good crowd as well, the whole team are there. I don’t know what I’m meant to say honestly, but just a lot of smiling, a lot of cheers.

“All the hard work goes into a day like today, but just that happiness, me smiling, which is not always the case, but I dream of these days sometimes and you never know when they’re going to come towards you, but today was that day.

“So as much as my mind was going crazy, I was thinking a lot of things, I was also just quiet, a bit lonely out there at times and it’s nice to just kind of reflect on everything you’ve done to get to that point.”

Norris has withstood mounting pressure as his winless run went on, picking up the unwanted record of most podiums without a win, but now he can put all of that in the rear-view mirror.

And asked if this was a weight off his shoulders, Norris replied: “As much as I want to say no, it’s a yes.

“To get that first victory is always incredible. And I’ve of course had my moments where we’ve been close, and I’ve never been able to convert it into the win.

“But I wasn’t worried. As much as people doubted that I was going to be able to put it together and win a race, I wasn’t worried.

“I’ve kind of been more confident than ever this year that I’ve got what it takes and the team have got what it takes.

“I was patient with it. I’ve just been doing my job and executing my races, executing my qualys and doing what I can do best.

“And I knew my time was coming. I said it this morning like it’s not often that I’m optimistic about things, but actually all weekend there’s been something you know, like already practice, qualys, we’ve been close and we were very good on Friday and there was kind of that spark.

“And we maybe lost it a little bit into Saturday, but today it definitely came back and turned into a little fire.

“So yeah, it was was an incredible race.” recommends

Ranked: All 20 F1 2024 drivers in order of ability from the elite to the questionable

F1 driver contracts: What is the contract status of every driver on the 2024 grid?

Norris admitted that when he was down in P6 at the end of the first lap, that “little fire” of hope it seemed was extinguished, but showing the pace and with the rarity of Verstappen still being in sight, Norris did not give up and got that bit of “luck” required to open the door to victory.

Asked if he still believed he could win at the end of that first lap, Norris, with a smile, responded: “No, it was put out very quickly.

“But I kind of had a little flashback to yesterday’s Sprint race when I saw Sergio [Perez] on the inside. I just thought, ‘Okay, let’s try and make it around Turn 1 for once’.

“I took it easy, I knew we had good pace and I knew I was in it for the long game.

“I was behind Checo for the whole of the first stint, but our pace at the end of the first stint was the best on track and I can still see Max. And when you can see Max, there’s hope. And it’s not often that you can see Max on track.

“So I knew the whole time, even when I was back in sixth, that there could be opportunities, whether there was one Safety Car or something went my way and I was very quick at the end of the first stint, I kept my head down, we kept pushing, everyone boxed from ahead of me and I could just use all the pace that I had, which was a lot of it.

“And being able to go so long on the tyres, being able to have the pace I had, turned into that bit of luck, which I’ll happily admit.

“Sometimes you’ve got to have a bit of luck on your side and things have got to go your way and I had that today. But I’ll take it happily. And after the Safety Car I could kind of just get my head down and push on and I was confident I could take it from there.”

Victory for Norris in Miami was McLaren’s first since all the way back at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Read next: What are Mercedes thinking? Martin Brundle’s verdict as customer team McLaren upstage engine supplier