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McLaren's team principal, Andrea Stella, had expressed optimism about the possibility of closing the gap to Red Bull with the new developments. But no one expected the MCL38, equipped with the new aerodynamic package, to clinch an epic victory in Miami with Lando Norris at the wheel, marking his first win in F1. After 110 Grand Prix races, the talented British driver, who has remained loyal to McLaren since his debut in 2019, finally achieved the long-awaited milestone.

Norris had already showcased his talent in junior series, winning the British F4 in 2015, followed by the Eurocup Renault and Toyota Series in 2016, F3 in 2017, and finishing second in F2 in 2018, behind George Russell. Before the Miami race, Norris had amassed 15 podiums, including seven third places and eight second places. Finally, everything fell into place: the decision to pit at the right moment during the entry of the safety car following the incident between Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon was crucial.

Initially sixth in the early stages of the race, Norris saw his teammate Oscar Piastri rise to third position after the chaos caused by Sergio Perez at the first corner. However, the decision to wait for the right moment for the pit stop proved to be a winning move. Piastri and Carlos Sainz pitted just a lap before the safety car came in, while Norris made his stop when Magnussen and Logan Sargeant collided. Despite the initial confusion regarding the position of the safety car, Norris kept his composure.

At the restart, the battle with Max Verstappen seemed like an impossible challenge, but Norris managed to hold off the world champion, who struggled with the older tires of the McLaren. Despite an error at the chicane, Norris maintained his advantage and secured a historic victory for McLaren, which hadn't tasted the top spot on the podium since the 2021 Monza GP with Daniel Ricciardo.

The friendly relationship between Verstappen and Norris made the defeat more bearable for the Red Bull driver, who praised his teammate for his victory. McLaren's performance confirmed that in Formula 1, nothing is guaranteed, and even the most dominant teams can be surpassed under certain circumstances.

However, Ferrari suffered a disappointment, finishing behind McLaren in both Miami and China. Despite a third-place finish for Charles Leclerc, the team had to settle for lower placements than expected.

Lewis Hamilton's race with Mercedes was brave, but the team continues to struggle with performance issues. Yuki Tsunoda scored valuable points for AlphaTauri, while Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon achieved positive results for Aston Martin and Alpine-Renault respectively.

Oscar Piastri did indeed force Carlos Sainz off the track, but surprisingly received no penalty for this action. Subsequently, Sainz attempted to retaliate by attacking Piastri. However, during this overtake, Sainz slightly lost control of his Ferrari, ending up colliding with the left front wing of Piastri's McLaren with the right rear wheel, causing damage.

FIA stewards reviewed the incident and decided to penalize Sainz. However, instead of imposing the standard 10-second penalty, they opted for a 5-second penalty, taking into account Sainz's loss of control during the contact.

Ultimately, Sainz had to thank his lucky stars for not receiving a harsher penalty, in addition to facing the consequences of his overtaking attempt.

Overall, the Miami race confirmed that this Formula 1 season is as unpredictable as ever, with unexpected surprises that can change the course of the championship.

© Cavalieri Garage & Co.


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