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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Miami Grand Prix talking points: Norris finally breaks the F1 maiden for a fan favourite 2024 victory

The third ever Miami Grand Prix is in the history books and finally Lando Norris has tasted the victory champagne.

That is one of the many things to discuss as we get to the latest edition of F1 talking points.

Norris breaks the maiden class and logs his first major win – after 110 races, he is now part of the Grand Prix league.

It seems like a lot more than 110 races since Norris started in F1, given his skill and popularity, but the breakthrough moment finally came for the Englishman after a strong and measured drive, which had a bit of luck thrown his way to take the chequered flag.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Norris was well off the record for most races until scoring his first F1 win, a statistic owned by Sergio Perez, who took 190 races to scrap a win.

Norris had recently set a record for most podiums in F1 without a win, and by winning in Miami he joined Patrick Depailler, Mika Hakkinen, Eddie Irvine and Jean Alesi in equal first place for most podiums scored before taking their maiden win. The 15 club apparently is a thing.

There is no doubting however that the win for Norris will go down as the most popular of 2024, and arguably the last few seasons. And if you’re a McLaren fan, this one has to be up there with the lack of recent success.

So with Norris now off the list of drivers to have never won a race even with 100 plus starts, which other names stay on the card?

Lance Stroll (151), Kevin Magnussen (170) and Nico Hulkenberg (212) all have the unwanted distinction of being in the top 10 for most races without a win.

For Hulkenberg, who famously owns the unwanted accolade for most starts without a podium – he will break the record for most races without a win, at the Spanish Grand Prix if he doesn’t triumph at Imola, Monaco or Canada, moving past Andrea de Cesaris who sits first on the list right now with 214 races.

Let’s hope for Hulkenberg that Norris breaking through might set a precedent down the grid and see an even more popular win occur in 2024.

What could’ve been for Oscar

For more than half of the Miami Grand Prix, McLaren led the race. For three laps between lap 23 and 26, that leader was Oscar Piastri.Piastri made a great start, going from fifth to third on the opening lap before ultimately ending up in second after getting past the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

He maintained this position early on and took the lead before the first round of pit stops, to which the safety car soon emerged while teammate Norris was in front, giving Piastri the opposite of the luck that fell onto Lando.

And while the pace in the car was strong enough to enable Piastri to fight his way back into podium contention, a clash with Carlos Sainz damaged his front wing and sent him to the back of the pack. He would ultimately fight his way through to 13th with the fastest lap of the race.

F1 is all about luck at the best of times and had the safety car come out just a few laps earlier with Oscar in the lead, then we could be celebrating a very different McLaren win in this part of the world just like we were back at Monza in 2021.

It wasn’t to be this time, but with the full upgrade package coming for Oscar in Imola and the confidence that will be on both him and Norris heading into that race, that first win may be closer than we think.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Newey’s Red Bull defection is bigger than Hamilton leaving Mercedes

Pre-season, the news of Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes after more than a decade to join the ranks of Ferrari shocked the F1 world.

Only a few months later that news was superseded by the bombshell that the greatest designer in the history of the sport, Adrian Newey, was leaving Red Bull after nearly two decades.

The rumours were there, but these weren’t new rumours. Newey’s name was always thrown when talks of his contract renewal transpired. This time however, it happened. And the man who has won a total 25 championships across his career (13 drivers’ and 12 constructors’) is now a free agent.

In the announcement of his departure, nothing was mentioned about his next move. Most importantly, nothing was discussed about retirement. He will be with Red Bull until the beginning of 2025, meaning that if he does go to another team, he will have very little time to work on his new teams 2026 car ahead of the regulation changes.

Ferrari of course is the team that everyone believes he will go to, fulfilling a lifelong dream of Newey to challenge his skills at the most famous team of all. Pairing him up with the most successful driver of all time creates a mouth-watering prospect for F1 fans should it happen.

However, other teams could also sway Newey. Aston Martin haven’t held back on their desire to lure him to green, and Mercedes, Audi and even Williams have spoken publicly about having talks with the designer.

No matter where he ends up, it will be the biggest move we have seen in the sport this decade.

(Photo by Getty Images)

It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain for Ricciardo

Oh Dan. What a weekend.

Just when it looked like he had things switched on with an incredible fourth in the sprint race, he was shoved back down to earth with qualifying for the main race that effectively cost him any chance of adding to his points tally.

Still, the Ricciardo of old had flashes. His defensive driving in maintaining fourth on Saturday while racing the faster Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was evidence of just how good a driver he still is. The fact that he went from last to 15th in the race on Sunday, gaining more positions than his teammate overall, also added a bit of a cherry on top to what was a disappointing second half of his weekend.

This is now two races in a row in which he has had the measure of Yuki Tsunoda. As I mentioned in my last edition of talking points, there still needs to be more consistency. But two races of good form is better than one. Let’s hope that it’s three and more in the subsequent rounds.

Can we have some consistency in the stewarding please?

A quick final note on the disparity over the stewarding over the weekend.

Kevin Magnussen drew the ire of the stewards in both the sprint and the main race due to his overly aggressive tactics, particularly during the sprint race in which he did all he could to help his teammate Nico Hulkenberg remain in the clear from the faster cars behind him.

Sunday then saw him make a terrible attempt at a pass on Logan Sargeant, taking the American out of the race and making it two races in a row in which Magnussen has shown that he perhaps needs a quick trip back to ‘how to overtake 101’ school.

This incident resulted in a 10 second penalty for the Danish driver. Deserved? Of course. But it also seemed a tad light given the circumstances, with a stop/go penalty arguably the better solution.

In comparison, Lance Stroll was given the same penalty after he was forced off the track by Alex Albon during a battle in the closing stages. His wheels were ever so slightly outside the track limits, and was unable to give the position back to Albon as he had been overtaken by the time Stroll could do anything about it.

How is that incident the same as what happened with Magnussen? Surely a five second penalty was the right call for the Stroll incident, rather than the more severe penalty that put his move on the same level as Magnussen – taking a car out of the race.

Another example is Carlos Sainz being given a five second penalty for damaging Oscar Piastri’s front wing, effectively ending any hope of Piastri being able to score a podium or points.

How is this an example of a fair penalty where a car has directly impacted another car’s race to an extent that has cost them valuable points and actual damage – yet is deemed less impactful than a driver gaining the slightest of advantages in a wheel to wheel battle?

It’s the age old situation of no consistency rearing its head once again in the stewarding process, a process that was meant to have been fixed after the controversial sacking of Michael Masi at the beginning of the 2022 season.

Some simple consistency would be much appreciated by all F1 fans.

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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