Motorsport News

Are Lando Norris and McLaren a threat to Red Bull now?

Are Lando Norris and McLaren a threat to Red Bull now?

MIAMI — The sight of any car pulling a gap on Max Verstappen’s Red Bull has been rare in F1’s recent past but Lando Norris was able to canter away from the three-time world champion to secure his maiden F1 win at Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix.

Norris’ victory margin of nearly eight seconds was, by Formula One’s recent standards, a rout of Verstappen and his dominant RB20 car. On the surface it is easy to get excited about the nature of his win given the one-sided championship season we have seen to this point and the ease with which Verstappen has won the other four races he has finished in 2024.

Norris beats Verstappen in Miami GP for first F1 win
Watch Formula One on ESPN networks all season long

Even more tantalizing was the fact Norris’ victory — his first in 110 F1 race starts — came at the first attempt with the big upgrade package McLaren brought to the race, its first significant one of the year so far. Teammate Oscar Piastri will also have the new package for F1’s next race, Imola’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

While a new race winner will always prompt excitable statements about a new reality at the front, there were clear extenuating circumstances which helped end Norris’ winless streak.

The collision between Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant which prompted the Safety Car changed the course of the contest, rewarding Norris and McLaren for going long with the first stint. The Magnussen-Sargeant clash happened shortly after Norris had moved from fifth up to first as his rivals pitted. The British driver had been carefully managing his tyres in a bid to attack with fresh rubber later in the race.

McLaren felt like Norris’ extended first stint would have left him with the pace to attack at the end of the race had there not been a Safety Car, although he was skeptical he could have made enough passes on track to win the race in that scenario.

“It would have been tough,” Norris said on the hypothetical of a race without a Safety Car. “I would have had to overtake two Ferraris, a Red Bull, Oscar [Piastri].”

Then there was the state of Red Bull’s car all weekend, and notably Verstappen’s during the race itself. Despite taking pole position for the sprint (which he won) and for the grand prix, Verstappen and Red Bull struggled to get their hands around the set-up of the car around the Miami circuit.

Verstappen potentially complicated matters further when he went straight over the Turn 14/15 chicane, knocking over a cone in the…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at – RPM…