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A ‘dream’ Sunday for Lando Norris and McLaren

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MIAMI — The celebration in McLaren’s paddock at Hard Rock Stadium lasted well into the night, with even Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur joining in on the fun.

And with good reason.

Sunday was the kind of day you dream about the first time you climb into a racecar for Lando Norris, as the McLaren driver broke through after years of close calls and heartbreaks, for his maiden Formula 1 victory.

“It felt incredible,” said Norris trackside after the win.

“I mean, it’s a good crowd as well. The whole team are there. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m meant to say, honestly, but just a lot of smiling, a lot of cheers. A lot of hard work goes into a day like today,” added Norris.

“But just happiness, me smiling, which is not always the case. But yeah, I mean, 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 and I was thinking a lot of things, I was also just quiet, you know. It was just a bit lonely out there at times and it’s just nice to kind of reflect on everything you’ve done to get to that point.”

The scenes in McLaren’s paddock told the story:

As noted above, even Vasseur joined in on the fun, making the short walk from Ferrari’s paddock after speaking with the media, including SB Nation, to help McLaren celebrate Norris’ inaugural victory in F1:

It has been a long time coming for Norris, who received praise throughout the paddock for a victory that had eluded him for so long. But on this Sunday, he was the ultimate winner in the ultimate test of motorsport.

Here are more winners and losers from the Miami Grand Prix.

Winner: Yuki Tsunoda

While McLaren’s celebrations wore on into the night at Hard Rock Stadium, there were similar reasons to celebrate at the other end of the paddock. Over at Visa Cash App RB F1 Team, the entire organization could take solace in a strong weekend from start to finish.

First came the F1 Sprint Race, which saw both Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda finishing in the points. Tsunoda captured the final points position with a P8, but it was Ricciardo who delivered a stunning drive. The Australian driver and fan favorite stormed to the second row in qualifying, and matched that with a P4 finish that, in his mind, quieted some of the critics.

“It’s so nice to fight at the front, of course. But then to be, just holding off what we know are faster cars it feels like … yeah, it’s a statement and it’s nice,” said Ricciardo on Saturday to the media, including SB Nation. “Nice to have that dog in me.

“A lot of people like to talk shit so it’s nice to hold a couple of middle fingers up, subtly.”

On Sunday, it was Tsunoda turn for glory. Ricciardo’s struggles in qualifying for hte Miami Grand Prix, coupled with a three-place grid penalty that was handed down at the Chinese Grand Prix, saw him start at the back of the pack. So if points were to come for VCARB, they would have to from Tsunoda.

He delivered, putting his RB01 up intp P7 for another solid haul of points.

“Very happy, what a great job by the team! It’s been an incredible week in which we scored in both races. We kind of expected we would have a good performance here but the most important thing is that we achieved it,” said Tsunoda in the team’s post-race debrief. “As a team, we stuck to our plan and didn’t make any mistakes today. As for me, overall, I’m happy with my driving even though I made a mistake at the start. I reset myself and kept going, and especially in the last stint where I was just driving by myself, I was pushing and able to achieve similar lap times to the cars in front.

“The team developed a great car and I appreciate them a lot. The amount of push from the factory is incredible and in the end, we were able to score well-deserved points. We were able to progress quickly from the start of the season, so I’m looking forward to the future. The next race in Imola is kind of another home race for me, so I hope we’ll be able to continue our rhythm and achieve a good result in front of our home crowd, especially people from the factory. Everyone is doing a fantastic job and we’ll definitely keep pushing!”

VCARB added 12 points to their account over the weekend in Miami, and the team leaves Florida firmly in sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship, with 19 points on the season.

While there is a long way to go, the team certainly can feel satisfied with their week in Miami.

Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images

Losers: Haas

On the other end of the spectrum, Haas might be wondering what the future holds after their week in Miami.

Things started off on a positive note, with Nico Hülkenberg bringing home a pair of points in the F1 Sprint Race, aided largely in part by teammate Kevin Magnussen acting more like an NFL left tackle than an F1 driver, holding off Lewis Hamilton over the closing laps to ensure that Hülkenberg would keep his position. It was not the first time this year that Magnussen played the team game, but a host of penalties he received — along with the three penalty points on his Super License — made it a costly Saturday for the Haas driver.

Sunday was an even tougher day.

Hülkenberg started in the points after a solid qualifying session put him ninth on the grid. But he was on the outside looking in during the closing stages of the Miami Grand Prix, and he could not catch Esteban Ocon for the final points position.

Further behind him, Magnussen collided with Logan Sargeant on Lap 27, and the driver was summoned to meet with race officials for the incident. He was hit with another ten-second penalty, and two more points were added to his Super License.

Magnussen now has ten points on his Super License, two shy of a one-race ban. In all, he was hit with over a minute of penalties across the weekend, along with the five penalty points.

Complicating matters? The earlies Magnussen will see points come off his license is in March of 2025, as penalty points last for a whole calendar year. He picked up three penalty points at the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and those are the oldest points on his Super Licence.

That means Magnussen has to keep it clean for nearly a calendar year.

Winners: Alpine

Finally, Alpine had reason to celebrate on the F1 side of things.

They have had reasons to celebrate already this year, thanks to the tremendous start to the season from F1 Academy drive Abbi Pulling, who picked up a win in the opening race weekend of the season, and followed that with a pair of wins in Miami.

But on Sunday it was the F1 team’s turn, as Esteban Ocon broke through with a tenth-place finish, giving the team their first point of the season, and a hard-earned one at that.

“I think today, you know, if you ten more laps probably, Nico would have been very close in fighting with us again,” said Ocon to the media, including SB Nation, after the Miami Grand Prix. “I had to fight my way through in that race. It was insane how many moves I had to do.”

Alpine has a long way to go with developing the A524, but the consistent message from the team all week in Miami was that they are moving in the right direction.

Sunday proved it.

Losers: Williams

Following the Miami Grand Prix, Alexander Albon called it “one of the most challenging races I’ve had with the team” in their media report.

And with good reason.

Both Albon and teammate Logan Sargeant finished at the back of the field on Sunday. Sargeant’s day came to an early end due to the Lap 27 collision with Magnussen, while Albon, like many drivers, struggled to find the right level of grip in the Miami heat.

“We’ve struggled with grip all weekend and then tried to do a long run on the [tires] which didn’t work,” added Albon.

“A very disappointing way to end my home grand prix. It was decent race up until the incident,” said Sargeant following the Miami Grand Prix. “From what I could tell, Alex and I were both missing a little bit of pace today but still fighting on.”

However, Sargeant maintained that it was still a positive weekend on his side of the garage. Speaking with the media, including SB Nation, following qualifying on Saturday Sargeant declared that the weekend in Miami was the most “comfortable” he has felt all season. “And I feel like, I mean, jumping in FP1 this weekend is the most comfortable I felt all year and I feel like I was straight away on it,” described Sargeant. “And if I look since Australia, I feel like it’s been going relatively well, from Japan, getting almost everything out of it.”

Sargeant remained upbeat despite the disappointing early end to his home race.

“Nonetheless, it’s been a positive weekend from the moment I got into the car in FP1,” declared Sargeant in the team’s media report. “I’ve been able to get almost everything out of it. There are still little things to improve on but generally I don’t feel like there was much left in it this weekend. I’m feeling fine and ready to move on to a stint of European races.”

While the driver feels positive, there is still work to be done at Williams moving forward.

Some parting thoughts

Finally, a quick parting word before boarding my flight home.

This was an incredible week.

And it was a week that was only possible thanks to all of you.

Starting out in the Formula 1 space, I had no idea what to expect. But I certainly did not expect to be on the ground, covering a race, at this point. Yet there I was all weekend long, working through the paddock and getting to speak with some of the most talented people in the world at what they do.

Of course that is not just the drivers, but the team principals, the people in the garages, and every team member regardless of their role. Operating an F1 team is a massive undertaking, and the men and women who do that work are incredible at it.

Then there are the other journalists in this industry, who inspire me every single day. There are too many to mention and I am terrified at leaving someone out, but seeing the legends of the motorsport journalism world — a truly international group — do what they do best was a sight to behold.

Hosting an event like this is also a massive undertaking. I was lucky enough to speak with Tom Garfinkel before the race on Sunday morning. He is the vice chairman, president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium and managing partner of the Miami Grand Prix, and he outlined for me just what it takes to put an event like this on, and the work that goes on behind the season. The men and women who endeavor in that effort are truly world class.

I will have more on the discussion with Garfinkel later this week, once I sleep.

But let me circle back to all of you, dear readers. You made this week possible, by reading the stories, sharing the stories, and everything you have done to support me on this journey. I cannot thank you enough.

But the best way I can try is by continuing to do the work. Which I’ll get back to shortly, after a bit of rest.

See you soon.


#dream #Sunday #Lando #Norris #McLaren

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