Norris beats Verstappen in Miami for first F1 win


McLaren’s Lando Norris beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with help from the safety car to take his maiden Formula 1 victory at the Miami Grand Prix.

Norris jumped to the front because he was able to make his pit stop when a safety car was deployed at about half distance while others had already stopped.

Verstappen was unable to keep pace with Norris when the race restarted with 27 laps to go, and the Briton stretched ahead, while the world champion had to settle for second ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“About time, huh?” Norris, 24, said after victory in his 110th grand prix. “What a race, it’s been a long time coming but finally I’ve been able to do it. I’m so happy for my whole team, I’ve finally been able to deliver for them. A long day, a tough race, but finally on top so I’m over the moon.

“The whole weekend has been good. I’ve had a few setbacks along the way. I knew on Friday we had the pace and just a couple of mistakes here and there but today we managed to put it together, we put the perfect strategy, it all paid off.”

In addition to a bit of luck and timing, Norris’ victory was based on genuine pace – he was the quickest car on track once he was released from behind the struggling Red Bull of Sergio Perez when the Mexican made an early pit stop for tyres on lap 17.

From then until the safety car for a collision between Williams’ Logan Sargeant and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen at Turn Three, Norris turned on the pace and set the foundations for his win.

The fact that this was not the usual cruise to victory for Verstappen was obvious when he missed the chicane on lap 21 and displaced a bollard.

The virtual safety car had to be deployed for half a lap to clear the debris from the track. Verstappen pitted two laps later, and rejoined 10 seconds behind Norris.

But despite having fresher tyres, Verstappen did not close on Norris – in fact the McLaren started to pull away.

And when the safety car was deployed Norris had a sufficient advantage to pit and come out still in the lead.

There was bit of confusion when the safety car picked up Verstappen rather than Norris and the field had to be let past to run around and catch up behind Norris, but now it came down to a straight fight between the McLaren and the Red Bull.

Usually, Verstappen would have been expected to pass Norris, and the Briton made it difficult for himself with a nervy restart which gave Verstappen the chance to think about a pass at Turn One. (BBC)

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