Lando Norris Miami Grand Prix victory a study in the human condition

McLaren driver Lando Norris tosses his trophy on the podium after winning the Miami Grand Prix last Sunday. Photo: AFP

McLaren driver Lando Norris tosses his trophy on the podium after winning the Miami Grand Prix last Sunday. Photo: AFP

Published May 9, 2024


Comment by Morgan Bolton

I think I’ve made my stance on George Russell very clear. Much like Daniel Ricciardo, I can’t bring myself to liking him.

Oh, the humanity!

How will he go on living his multimillion-dollar life, while jet-setting around the world, rubbing shoulders with Hollywood elites and hobnobbing it up with the rich and famous, beautiful and desirable?

After all, he’s just out there trying to earn a living.

Anyway, my point is that I have no such feelings towards Lando Norris.

And from the scenes at the end of the Miami Grand Prix, that seems to definitely be the general consensus in the paddock, down the straight, around the circuit and with the F1 fan base in general.

The 24-year-old was embraced by just about everyone – mates and rivals (if he even has those) alike – after his maiden GP victory.

Although I consider myself a Ferrari fan, I will profess that while the Briton led the race in that ghastly orange McLaren into the last 10 laps – personally, I am all for the silver era of Mika Hakkinen – there was a lump of anxiety in my throat.

There were flashbacks to Sochi a few years ago when Norris made the wrong decision in the closing laps of the Russian GP.

With the heavens blanketed in heavy clouds and opening up with a torrent of rain, Norris – leading the race – decided to stay out on slicks while the rest of the grid drove into the pits for wets.

It proved a fatal mistake, with the finish line and chequered flag beckoning. He spun out, unable to find any grip, while the rest of the field passed him by.

You could almost feel his tears forming, the shoulders sagging into uncontrolled shudders as he saw his triumph wash away.

It was that day that the moniker ‘Lando NoWins’ was born.

The Miami win – which, I will also admit, was an enthralling race in general, despite the cartoonish pomp that surrounds it – was, therefore, most welcome.

Not only did it end in Norris winning with much fanfare, but it also created a bit of hope that the imperious Max Verstappen and peremptory Red Bull will not have this season all to themselves.

The margins to beat them remain small.

It required a safety car at just the right moment for Norris and most inopportune one for the Dutchman to witness the upset.

What was perhaps most pleasing, however, is once Norris hit the front, there was no stopping him.

He easily maintained his advantage, and at times even outpaced the RB20.

— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) May 5, 2024

That bodes well for the next few races, save for Monaco, of course, which are high-speed odes to the racing gods.

Red Bull will now know that even the smallest of mistakes could cost them the top step of the podium and such pressure, even if it dwells just beneath the surface of their collective consciousness, could lead to errors that could have a massive impact on proceedings.

The flip side of all this is equally true. It could be that for the rest of the season, Verstappen and Co just dominate. They have been near-perfect in almost everything that they do. Why would it be any different?

Perhaps what Norris’s victory really exposes is how desperate we all are for an underdog, a contender to challenge the might of Red Bull, even if its continuation is some pie-in-the-sky notion that will only become reality when pigs fly.

That surely says something about the human condition, right? Right?

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