Метка: Miami GP

Piastri «more conscious of his strengths» after Miami F1 race

Piastri had the better start of the two McLaren drivers in Miami, muscling his way past Norris, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez after the latter went straight on in the first corner.

In a McLaren that didn’t receive all the upgrades that Norris’ MCL38 had equipped, Piastri nevertheless showed great pace early on and passed the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to move up to second behind Max Verstappen.

But it was Norris who vaulted to the top after delaying his only pitstop until a mid-race safety car gave the Briton a free stop, with Norris controlling the race from the restart to take an emphatic maiden win.

PLUS: The three factors that mean Norris’s Miami F1 win can’t be cast as a safety car fluke

In the fight for fourth, Sainz was penalised for contact with Piastri, which forced the Australian to pit for a new front wing and left him down in 13th at the finish.

While his own race ended in disaster, Stella believes Piastri will take courage from his performance alongside Norris this weekend in a less rapid McLaren ahead of receiving the same specification as Norris in Imola.

«I think Oscar comes out of this weekend even more conscious of his strengths as a driver,» Stella said.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

«We knew already how fast he is on a single lap, considering that he didn’t have the full package. Let me pay proper credit to Oscar, the gap he had to Lando in qualifying is smaller than the difference of the package he had.

«So, he was really pulling off strong performance over a single lap in very difficult conditions like all drivers said with the soft tyres.»

Stella added: «His performance in the race was again very strong. Lando said something really nice before, he said by looking at Oscar overtaking a Ferrari, he felt: ‘Wow, we are actually there today’, so it was a realisation for Lando himself.

«He comes away from this weekend with this sort of conviction, especially in terms of race pace, which is something we wanted to improve having looked at Japan, having looked at China. So, for me, he’s in a very strong place.»

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Stella also praised Piastri for not kicking up a fuss when told Norris would get priority on the full upgrade package, which also included a revised floor and sidepods.

«He has proven once again how strong a team player he is, because clearly when I told him, ‘Oscar we are going to give the sidepods and the floor to Lando’, he wasn’t the happiest in the bottom of his heart,» Stella said.

«But at no point he made this decision difficult or asked why. He understood the reasoning and he was immediately supportive, like all the entourage around Oscar.»

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RB could catch F1’s top five teams

The Faenza-based team enjoyed its most competitive outing of the year in Miami last weekend, with Tsunoda scoring twice thanks to an eighth-place finish in Saturday’s sprint followed by a strong drive to seventh in Sunday’s race.

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had a strong Saturday as well, qualifying and finishing fourth, before a rather anonymous grand prix in which he crossed the finish line in 15th.
A total of 12 points allowed RB to consolidate its sixth place in the standings behind Aston Martin.

The results left Tsunoda encouraged about his team’s form going forward, hailing the speed of its progress.

«It shows how much we’re pushing, you know, especially the people who work in the background,» Tsunoda told F1.com after the race. «The progress we’re having throughout the year so far is very fast.

«Every race so far we were always at least driving around the P10 and most of the races we’re scoring points, and recently it’s not even just P10, but P8, P9, P7, P4.

«Obviously, it’s not level yet [with] the Mercedes, for example, but today I [was] able to be on the pace or even faster pace compared to one of the Mercedes.
Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

«So obviously, if we continue like this, maybe we at some point catch up the [top five] teams. We never know and that’s what we aim for for now.»

The Japanese, who has scored points in three of the first six races of 2024, had a busy race, with fights against several drivers — including Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton — and a scare when he nearly lost control of his car.

«I kind of peed in my pants when I slid at Turn seven,» he said of the incident.»I kind of had a half-spin there. It was my biggest mistake and it was unnecessary for me.

«But after that, the pace was there. I also enjoyed the battle with Lewis. In the end, he overtook me like yesterday, so kind of deja vu.»

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Ricciardo performance in F1 Miami sprint «had been coming»

Ricciardo endured a tough start to the 2024 season, being outperformed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in the opening race while struggling to get comfortable aboard the VCARB01.

The Australian’s difficulties dashed the momentum of him being considered for a 2025 Red Bull seat, but in recent races, he has been working his way back to competitiveness.

In Miami, Ricciardo qualified and finished fourth in Saturday’s sprint to score his first points of the year, employing a stout defence against intrinsically quicker cars over the 19-lap contest.

Team principal Mekies said that performance didn’t come out of the blue as Ricciardo had been making improvements in recent races without a result to show for it.

«I’m sure it was a huge weight [off his shoulders] because the US is nearly his second home race,» Mekies told Autosport.

«He did it in style with an incredible defence to Carlos [Sainz] and the McLaren [of Oscar Piastri]. It was a fantastic moment for him.
Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

«In fairness, we had seen signs of improvement before, but it was very difficult to explain it to the world.

«Saudi was a better performance than Bahrain, Australia was better than Saudi, Japan was better than Australia and China was better than Japan.

«It had been coming in many, many small steps and we think there is more steps we can do in the next few races to help suit the car better to him.»

When asked if there was a definitive answer on why he struggled, Mekies said: «Let’s just say that we identified stuff he was not happy with and took away quite a lot of the speed.

«We have tried to tick all the boxes to erase these limitations and there are a few more we would like to see ticked over the next few weekends.

«It was always planned to introduce a new chassis before race six. It was a nice box to tick on our issues with Daniel to make him more comfortable and he did better straight away in China and Miami.

«It’s a big value for a team to be able to understand and analyse what is happening with the drivers and it’s not always visible on the data.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

«We are still trying to understand what it is that was disturbing him before, and it’s a work in progress.»

Ricciardo endured a much tougher main grand prix, being eliminated from Q1 in 18th and finishing in a train in 15th. According to Mekies, that swing of results shows how easy it is to be bumped out of a tight midfield pack if drivers or teams get the tiniest thing wrong.

«You have to nail every single aspect of the weekend at a top level. If we don’t do it, we are out of Q1 straight away,» he explained.

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«We had a fantastic performance with Daniel in the sprint quali and in the sprint itself. And then in the main quali, we were a little bit out of the tyre window, a little bit of a mistake there, and suddenly you’re out and that’s the reality.

«That’s what I like about racing. It’s 10 or 12 cars fighting, but it’s certainly a very intense pressure on the team.»

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Who is Lando Norris, F1’s newest grand prix winner?

The McLaren driver crossed the line 7.6 seconds clear of the all-conquering Max Verstappen, converting a strategy in which he went long on the medium-compound tyres and pouncing on a safety car to cycle out ahead of the three-time world champion.

Dispelling the disappointment of his 2021 near-miss at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, Norris’ victory appeared to be a popular one among the rest of the grid — and the Briton received much in the way of congratulations from his adversaries as he completed arguably his most memorable saunter into parc ferme.

PLUS: The factors that mean Norris’ Miami win can’t be cast as a safety car fluke

«I’ve always had respect for everyone I race against, from the top to the bottom of every category that I’ve gone through since karting,» Norris said. «I’ve always had respect for my competitors and the people I raced against. And I’ve always said that. So as much as when you put the helmet on you hate them, and you want to beat them, and you don’t care who’s who, I’ve always had respect for the people I’ve raced against. 

«So when anyone comes up [to me], especially people who have achieved a lot, because it always means a little bit more. So when Lewis, Fernando, Max, Charles, Carlos, whenever they come up to you or people have good words for you, I appreciate those things a lot. Because from these people, it means something. They’re the people who know what it takes to achieve these types of things, for the work, the time, the effort that goes into doing something like this.»

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, embraces Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, to congratulate him on his race win

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, embraces Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, to congratulate him on his race win

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Born in the port city of Bristol, situated between the mouth of the River Avon and River Severn, Norris is in his sixth season of racing in F1 for McLaren — with whom he shares a lengthy association. The Woking outfit signed Norris to its young driver squad at the start of 2017, ahead of his sole season in the now-defunct FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

Contrary to popular belief, Norris was not — he says — named after Star Wars character Lando Calrissian. Half-Belgian thanks to his mother Cisca, Norris nonetheless races under the British flag and grew up in the Somerset town of Glastonbury, known for its yearly music festival held in nearby Pilton. This allowed him to become a day-boarder at Millfield, a private school known for its contribution to sports — and where fellow racing driver Sam Bird was also educated. 

Initially not interested in racing, Norris started watching F1 with his father Adam — a Bristol-based businessman — and started to develop a keenness for it. After his victory in Miami, Norris paid tribute to his family for its support throughout his racing career — and to his grandmother over the team radio.

«I spoke to my mum and my dad already, which is always nice. Normally my dad comes to the races, but not today, so I’m sure he’s regretting that just a little bit. My parents have been so supportive. You know, they’re the ones who are with you from the start. They allowed everything to happen. They’re the ones that got me into racing, supported me, and allowed me to get to Formula 1, reach my dream, and do what I’ve loved to do since I was a kid. 

«And I’m very fortunate for everything that they’ve done and the position they’ve allowed me to be in. You think of those moments, and therefore, of course, I want to speak to my mum and dad, first of all, because you shared all those moments with them. And I just say a big thanks. And for my grandma, because she’s not been so well lately. I saw her last week, and I told her that I was going to win a race. I didn’t say when. I just said I was going to win a race. And I didn’t think it would be coming this soon. So I’m just very happy that I was able to do it as quickly as I did.»

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, kisses the winners trophy

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, kisses the winners trophy

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Also exposed to racing through the Gran Turismo video game series, Norris had the racing bug truly sinking its teeth into him when he was taken along with his brother Ollie to watch the karting British Championships at Clay Pigeon, the karting course near Dorchester where Jenson Button first started to race. 

«Me being me, I wanted to have a go!,» Norris told the Formula 2 website in 2018. «Soon after, I got a Bambino go-kart to drive around at home, and it started there…»

Norris picked up karting and, by 2013, he was competing on a global stage. There, he won the Junior class of the CIK-FIA European Championship — the same year Max Verstappen won the higher KF2 category — and went on to take victory in the CIK-FIA World Championship in 2014.

What is Norris’ junior racing record?

Alongside his Karting World Championship efforts, Norris started competing in the Ginetta Juniors Championship, a series on the support package of the British Touring Car Championship. At the age of 14 Norris was now exposed to a UK TV audience and behind the wheel of a Ginetta G40 in a full circuit race for the first time. Initially, Norris was only supposed to take part in the second half of the season, but ended up competing in the full championship — where he finished third behind future GT racers Jack Mitchell and James Kellett.

Norris moved to another of the BTCC’s undercard events in 2015: MSA Formula — built from the ashes of the defunct British Formula Ford Championship as the FIA rolled out its Formula 4 class worldwide. This was the first time Norris drove for Carlin, and he beat Ricky Collard and Colton Herta to the title to earn a move to the Formula Renault 2.0 championship.

Lando Norris

Lando Norris

Photo by: Daniel James Smith

His campaign there was preceded by the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series in the spring of 2016, which Norris won convincingly over former karting rival Jehan Daruvala. Titles in Formula Renault 2.0’s Eurocup and NEC championships followed, driving for Josef Kaufmann’s team, prior to his reunion with Carlin for a stab at the 2017 Formula 3 European Championship.

Having marked himself as a star of the future with his sweep of championship wins, Norris was signed to the McLaren Young Driver programme, which was one of new CEO Zak Brown’s first points of business after taking over at McLaren. Against stern competition from second-year driver Joel Eriksson and third-year racer Maximilian Guenther, Norris chalked up nine victories to claim another title with two races to spare — naturally winning the rookies’ championship in the process.

Lando Norris, Carlin Dallara F317 - Volkswagen

Lando Norris, Carlin Dallara F317 — Volkswagen

Photo by: FIA F3 / Suer

This elevated Norris into Formula 2, which had introduced its new F2 2018 chassis. Carlin had left the series, then known as GP2, at the end of 2016 but had re-entered the championship a year later, Norris being partnered by Sergio Sette Camara at the British squad. A one-off for Campos at the end of 2017 gave Norris a taster of what to expect, and the Briton continued to deliver in the early tests to mark himself out as a championship contender. Ahead of his first full year in F2, Norris competed in the Daytona 24 Hours alongside Fernando Alonso and Philip Hanson for United Autosports — the endurance racing team owned by Brown.

Considered as one of the best seasons of F2 thanks to its depth of talent, 2018 was contested by Norris, who won the Bahrain opener, ART’s George Russell, and Anglo-Thai driver Alex Albon — who converted a race-by-race deal with DAMS into a full season thanks to a strong start to the championship.

Despite opening strongly in securing the feature race victory in the Bahrain season opener (his last victory in any category before his Miami GP win) Norris did not reach the top step again in 2018 and retained his position in the championship hunt through consistency — although a puncture in the rain-affected Sochi round ended his championship hopes before the field diverted to its Yas Marina finale. Russell claimed the crown when Albon was taken out in a start-line incident following a stall, a frequent feature of the 2018 F2 car owing to a series of clutch issues. 

Lando Norris, Carlin

Lando Norris, Carlin

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Regardless, Norris impressed sufficiently in F2 and in a series of FP1 sessions for McLaren to earn a step up to F1 in 2019 — replacing Stoffel Vandoorne at the team.

How has Norris performed in F1?

Norris was partnered by Carlos Sainz in 2019, the Spaniard signed to replace compatriot Fernando Alonso in the latter’s first retirement from F1. The two quickly formed a firm friendship, and combined to help McLaren move back up the grid after a series of lean years with Honda powertrains and problematic cars.

In his first F1 race at Albert Park, Norris qualified eighth and finished 12th, and followed that up with his first points through finishing sixth in Bahrain. He amassed 49 points in his maiden season as McLaren made great strides forward with its MCL34, almost half of Sainz’s tally that year. His second season proved more felicitous despite the impact of COVID, and he claimed a maiden podium at the Red Bull Ring opener. This time, he finished just eight points behind Sainz, ahead of the Madrid-born driver’s move to Ferrari in 2021.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, and Lando Norris, McLaren, celebrate on the podium after the race

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, and Lando Norris, McLaren, celebrate on the podium after the race

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Contracted at McLaren for a third season, Norris was partnered with Daniel Ricciardo for 2021 — which was billed as his most serious test in F1 given the Australian was still highly rated at the time. However, Norris outperformed the ex-Red Bull driver and claimed all but one of the team’s five podium finishes — albeit the one that would have likely stung the most. In a zany Italian Grand Prix where title adversaries Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crashed at the chicane, Ricciardo assumed the lead — and Norris directed to play rear gunner against the chasing Valtteri Bottas. McLaren thus secured its first 1-2 finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Norris had his own opportunity to win at the next race at Sochi, and took his first pole from Sainz. Although the Ferrari driver snatched the lead at the start, Norris reclaimed it on the 13th lap and managed the race well — keeping Lewis Hamilton at bay until rain started to fall. Hamilton took the opportunity to pit for intermediates while Norris, anticipating a short shower, elected to stay out. That call proved to be hubristic, and he lost a lot of time to Hamilton while struggling on the slicks — and eventually aquaplaned off the circuit to throw away a shot at victory.

Lando Norris, McLaren, comiserates with himself after the race

Lando Norris, McLaren, commiserates with himself after the race

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Although Norris committed his long-term future to McLaren, its first foray into the ground-effect regulations mandated for 2022 was not entirely successful and he managed just one podium finish all year — at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. 2023 started out even more disastrously, with just 12 points scored in the opening eight races, but Norris benefitted from a vastly improved car at the Austria round to ignite a season where he claimed seven grand prix podiums. His first victory had to wait once more when Oscar Piastri won out in the Qatar sprint.

That brings us to 2024, and Norris’ best career start to an F1 championship season with three podiums — including his Miami Grand Prix victory. After walking away from China with second place, Norris had the unwanted record of holding the most podiums — 15 — without a win. This record now returns to Nick Heidfeld.

Podium: race winner David Coulthard, McLaren, second place Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, third place Nick Heidfeld, Sauber

Podium: race winner David Coulthard, McLaren, second place Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, third place Nick Heidfeld, Sauber

Photo by: Motorsport Images

How does Norris approach racing in F1?

In speaking to the media, Norris has often exhibited a self-deprecative and cautious approach when discussing his chances. Even after good results, it appears he is a natural pessimist — and instead draws attention to his own weaknesses rather than opting for self-aggrandisement. Speaking about this after his Miami win, Norris stated that this is a source of motivation.

«I have my times when I’m happy with what I’m able to go out and do. I’m just one of those guys that I’m not happy when I know I’ve not done the job I’m capable of doing,» he said. And [this win] shows what I’m capable of doing. I think all year I’ve done a very good job. And I’ve worked hard and I’ve eliminated and got rid of a lot of my weaknesses.

«I’m still going to be that guy. I don’t think that’s going to change. That’s what works for me. That’s my mindset. Everyone has their own way of doing things, their own approach, their own way that they talk to themselves and think of: how can I approach today? How can I go out and do the best job? For me, it’s talking down at myself and kind of putting myself down because for me that’s what works and I’m fine with that. 

«I don’t need other people to be happy with it and for other people to agree with it. It’s what’s best for me, and what works best is what’s made me who I am and I think that’s my best way of going forward. So I’m going to have my days when the glass is full and I can be happy and I’m proud of myself. Everyone’s going to have those days and everyone should have those days. But in order to make myself the best man, the best driver, I have my way of doing things and I stick to that.»

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, lifts the trophy in celebration on the podium

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, lifts the trophy in celebration on the podium

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

What does Norris do outside of racing — and what’s next in F1?

In 2020, Norris set up Quadrant — a company that focuses on «racing, gaming, clothing and content» with multiple streamers, and has since received investment from YouTuber Will Lenney. Much of the company’s involvement expands into Esports and the sale of clothing, but it will expand into an athlete support programme.

He has also cultivated a following through streaming on Twitch, which he has also used for charitable endeavours — raising money for COVID response funds and mental health charity Mind. He also plays golf, playing in various Pro-Am tournaments — notably the Netflix Cup held ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix in 2023.

Norris has a long-term contract with McLaren, which spans until the end of the 2027 season. It is known that he has held talks with Red Bull previously on more than one occasion, but has ultimately committed to McLaren following them. 

McLaren has committed to Mercedes power for the incoming powertrain regulatory overhaul in 2026, with a deal that extends to 2030. 

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Miami F1 win a weight off McLaren’s shoulders, not just Norris

Norris finally broke his duck in F1 on his 110th start, taking a convincing win at the Miami International Autodrome albeit with help from a well-timed safety car.

It was Norris’ first win in a motor race in over 2200 days, having previously claimed 15 podiums in F1 before climbing the top step.

Norris admitted that finally taking his first victory was a weight off his shoulders, but according to team principal Stella that could also be said of the team itself, because it was finally able to give the 24-year-old a car that was quick enough to do so.

«I think [not winning] was a bit of a weight on his shoulders, but it was a weight on our shoulders as well ,» Stella said when quizzed by Autosport.

«We knew as soon as we made winning material available to Lando, he would have delivered. So we felt the responsibility and I have said that many times, that it is up to us, it is not up to Lando.

«But credit to Lando, he kept developing over the winter, especially looking at improving in qualifying and delivering laps that sometimes don’t have to be 100% when you have a fast car, just be there. I think he is doing that.»

The Italian added: «That’s for me a testament to how ready he was, and also if we look at what he delivered in podiums with a car that sometimes wasn’t really a podium finisher on merit, for me Lando is in a very strong journey.»

Stella praised Norris for keeping his powder dry in the first stint on medium tyres when stuck in traffic, only to then deliver one fastest lap after the other once he found clear air, pace that even had Red Bull’s Max Verstappen rightly worried.

«I have to say that his race management is very mature,» said Stella. «As soon as he saw there wasn’t much to do after the first lap, he started to save his tyres because he knew his race would come at some stage.

«The pace he was able to pull off when the cars ahead of him pitted, that was quite incredible. He was getting the most out of the material he has.

«We needed to provide him with winning material. And as soon as we did it, he achieved it.»

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Sainz penalised for Piastri contact in F1 Miami GP, drops to fifth

The Ferrari driver had finished the race around the Hard Rock Stadium in fourth position, trailing team-mate Charles Leclerc, but falls one place behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the revised classification after being hit with a five-second penalty.

Sainz had reached fourth place after a lengthy battle with McLaren driver Piastri, who had passed Leclerc to run second early on before a safety car intervention altered the strategic outlook of the race and helped Lando Norris score his maiden F1 victory.

With the duo battling over fourth, Sainz was left irate after Piastri went unpunished over what the Spaniard perceived to be an overly defensive move into Turn 11, when he was edged wide.

Following persistent radio messages questioning why no penalty was forthcoming, Sainz went back on the attack when informed that no further investigation would take place.

Closing in on Piastri with the DRS heading towards Turn 17, Sainz lunged to the inside before a rear-end slide resulted in him swiping across the McLaren’s front wing. This forced Piastri into a pitstop for a new wing, costing him any chance of points.

After investigating the incident, the stewards determined Sainz was guilty of causing a collision and handed him a five-second penalty, as well as one penalty point.

The stewards’ report read: «It was clear to us that Car 55 was to blame for the collision.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

«In the overtake attempt, Car 55 braked late, missed the apex and in the process lost the rear, with the resulting collision. Although Car 81 was trying to turn in to counter the overtaking attempt, Car 81 gave sufficient room to Car 55.

«In the circumstances, we find Car 55 to be predominantly to blame for the collision.»

The report did stress, however, that «mitigating factors» caused the incident, adding: «The fact that but for the slight loss of control of the rear by Car 55, the collision would likely not have happened and it would have been hard but good racing.

«The standard penalty for a collision is 10 seconds with 2 penalty points. In light of the mitigating circumstances, we therefore impose a 5-second time penalty with 1 penalty point.»

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Lando Norris wins for McLaren

Norris beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari after the McLaren ace took full advantage to make his pitstop under the safety car, unlike all his rivals.

2024 F1 Miami Grand Prix results

2024 F1 Miami Grand Prix report

Polesitter Verstappen led the charge to Turn 1, as his team-mate Sergio Perez divebombed down the inside of the Ferraris but locked up and went straight on – just missing Verstappen.

Leclerc ran second from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz initially, but a fast-starting Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – from sixth on the grid – snatched third from the Spaniard around the outside at Turn 2, while Perez recovered in fifth, ahead of Norris.

Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) passed Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which started on hard tyres among a mostly medium-shod field, for seventh. Further back, the Alpines raced wheel to wheel through the Turns 13-14-15 and 16 sequence in an argument over 13th, with Pierre Gasly grabbing the spot after a brush of wheels.

Verstappen pulled clear of Leclerc’s DRS range, leaving the lead Ferrari prone to Piastri and Sainz. Piastri DRS-ed past Leclerc at Turn 17 at the end of lap four but was already 2s behind Verstappen.

Perez fell away from the leaders, into the clutches of Norris. Hamilton regained seventh from Hulkenberg on the approach to Turn 11 on lap seven, with Lewis reporting “we nearly had a big crash there” as he was squeezed towards the wall.

But Hamilton locked up six corners later and allowed Hulkenberg ahead of him again. They swapped places again three laps later, with George Russell (Mercedes) also getting by at Turn 11 a couple of laps later, which was Hulkenberg’s cue to pit for hard tyres.

The first of the frontrunners to stop was Perez on lap 18, as Norris began to hound him for fifth. Released, Norris immediately set fastest lap.

Leclerc pitted on lap 20, rejoining in sixth behind the long-running Hamilton. He pulled a superb around-the-outside move on the seven-time champion at Turn 11.

There was drama at the front too, as Verstappen collected the bollard at the apex of Turn 15 and was fortunate that it was jettisoned from the car after initially getting tangled up in his front wing and suspension. That resulted in a brief virtual safety car, to retrieve the pieces of bollard safely – but there wasn’t time for any of the leading lights to make a ‘cheap’ pitstop.

Verstappen pitted at the end of lap 23, allowing Piastri to lead from Sainz and Norris. Sainz stopped on lap 28, just before Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Logan Sargeant (Williams) clashed at Turn 3, causing a full safety car. Sargeant slammed backwards into the wall, but stepped from his car unhurt.

Norris’s long-running strategy thus paid off, as he was able to make a ‘free’ pitstop, rejoining well clear of Verstappen in the lead. Perez pitted again, going back onto mediums.

Norris led the restart from Verstappen, Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz and Perez. Yuki Tsuonda grabbed seventh from Hamilton at Turn 11.

Norris extracted himself from Verstappen’s DRS range with a brilliant opening lap, while Sainz duelled hard with Piastri for fourth – banging wheels at Turn 11. Moments later, Hamilton repassed Tsunoda around the outside of Turn 12.

Norris kept banging in impressive lap times, leaving Verstappen in his wake. Max complained: “I can’t get the car to turn, it’s a disaster.”

Sainz passed Piastri for fourth with a robust move with contact at Turn 17 on lap 39, and just managed to stay ahead as the Australian retaliated into Turn 1. Stewards will investigate their collision after the race.

Perez and Hamilton then passed Piastri, who suffered front wing damage when Sainz clipped him and was forced to pit.

Norris proved unassailable out front, beating Verstappen by 7.6s, who had Leclerc 2s further back.

Sainz finished fourth, but must see the stewards, from Perez and Hamilton.

Tsunoda finished seventh, ahead of Russell, Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Esteban Ocon scored Alpine’s first point of the season in 10th.

2024 F1 Miami Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Kp/h 
81 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1’30.634   214.965
23 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1’30.849 0.215 214.456
11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1’30.855 0.221 214.442
55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1’30.928 0.294 214.270
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1’30.980 0.346 214.148
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’31.084 0.450 213.903
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’31.233 0.599 213.554
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1’31.261 0.627 213.488
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’31.588 0.954 212.726
10  22 Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1’31.682 1.048 212.508
11  14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’31.727 1.093 212.404
12  20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1’31.774 1.140 212.295
13  63 George Russell Mercedes 1’31.921 1.287 211.955
14  27 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1’31.941 1.307 211.909
15  24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 1’31.991 1.357 211.794
16  31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1’32.037 1.403 211.688
17  10 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1’32.055 1.421 211.647
18  77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 1’32.098 1.464 211.548
19  3 Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1’32.122 1.488 211.493
20  2 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1’33.452 2.818 208.483

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Leclerc convinced Ferrari is closer to Red Bull on F1 race pace in Miami

Although the Monegasque could do little about stopping Verstappen from roaring to yet another victory in the sprint, the fact that he was able to match his pace once he dropped into clean air has left him upbeat about his chances.

Critical, he thinks, for his chances to stop Red Bull from winning is to put Verstappen under pressure – something that he reckons could be on the cards.

But asked why he felt that way, with Verstappen having been pretty much untouchable so far this year, Leclerc said: «Just the sprint race, we were a little bit closer to what we normally see.

«However, Max wasn’t really happy with his car in the sprint race, so we need to see how much of a step forward he does being happier with the car.

«But we did some fine-tuning on our side. We’re also confident we did a step forward, so we’ll see.

«If we have a similar pace like we’ve seen [in the sprint] then I think with strategy you can always put a bit more pressure. I hope that is the case. We’ve got the two cars in the front, so it’s a good opportunity.»

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Leclerc felt that the gap in the sprint, where he finished 3.371 seconds behind Verstappen, was not truly representative of the performance of their cars – as he was especially hampered when running close to the Red Bull in dirty air.

Reflecting on the pace of the two cars throughout the 19-lap race, Leclerc said: «I think we were quite similar on that. Maybe in the last two, three laps, Max had the upper hand and he pulled away a bit more.

«But apart from that, I was just struggling a little bit with the dirty air. Whenever I was getting within 1.8s, 1.7s, I would drop to 2.2s, 2.3s, and then I would come back a little bit. I was mostly struggling with dirty air.

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«I think if I had the DRS on that first lap, we probably could have put him under a bit more pressure, but we didn’t.

«So we need to look into that to try and make sure that we keep the DRS if we are behind and we pull away if we are in front.»

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Miami GP stewards to raise F1 rules issue with FIA as Magnussen cleared

The Haas driver picked up three separate penalties in his battle with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

Magnussen’s driving mirrored tactics he used in Saudi Arabia earlier this year where, once penalised, he was able to defend to such an extent that team-mate Nico Hulkenberg could cement his own position. Once again the German was able to secure a points-paying place in Miami.

Following the sprint, Magnussen told Sky Sports F1 that “all the penalties were well deserved” and added: “I started using these stupid tactics, which I don’t like doing, but at the end of the day, I did my job as a team player.”

Having been handed three 10-second penalties for his infringements, Magnussen was summoned to the stewards to determine whether, given his comments in the TV pen, his antics amounted to unsportsmanlike behaviour.

A report from the stewards explained: «The driver candidly explained that he thought that he was entitled to race with Car 44 in the manner that he did and also that he was willing to accept what he considered to be standard penalties that would have been imposed on him for any infringements that occurred while he was battling for position.

«He was also of the view that building a gap between himself and the cars ahead was perfectly within the regulations and it was not uncommon for a driver to seek to assist his team-mate in the course of a race by doing so.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, on the grid

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, on the grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

«He did not at any point in time think that what he was doing was wrong or that it was in any way unsportsmanlike.

«He highlighted that the Stewards would typically not increase the severity of the penalties for repeat offences.»

Change of rules inbound?

The stewards concluded that as there was «no clear evidence of an intention to behave in a manner that can be said to be unsportsmanlike» and due to the high standard set in determining unsportsmanlike actions no further action should be taken against Magnussen.

But the report made a point in noting that the stewards «disagreed» with the «way in which Car 20 was driven».

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And given the repeat offences committed by Magnussen, the report suggested talks would be had over regulation tweaks in order to offer the stewards more power in increasing the severity of punishments to drivers.

The report continued: «Moving forward, the Stewards will need to consider if, in appropriate situations, especially in the case of repeat infringements, the penalties to be applied for each infringement need to be increased to discourage scenarios such as those that we found today.

«This is something that we will raise explicitly with the FIA and the Stewarding team.»

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