Racing To Glory: Norris Propels McLaren Back To The Pinnacle Of Formula One

Eda Onay

The 2024 season has been a landmark for McLaren’s Lando Norris, clinching his first Formula One victory at the Miami Grand Prix. McLaren’s momentum soared with both of their drivers finishing in the top 4 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, after significant upgrades to their cars.


The Miami Grand Prix marked a turning point for McLaren who have largely been a competitive team in the middle pack until quite recently. Upgrades came to Norris’ car at the Miami Grand Prix which sparked progression and fire for the Papaya team. Since the win of Daniel Ricciardo at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, McLaren’s presence on the podium has been largely in third and second, but never the top – until lap 27 in Miami this year.

The race took a dramatic turn

The race took a dramatic turn when a collision between Willaims’ Log Sargeant and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen brought out the Safety Car. Norris, who was in the lead after teammate Piastri pitted the lap before, seized the opportunity to pit under the Safety Car maintaining his lead. After that, it was a swift victory to the end of the 57-lap race, with Verstappen attacking now and then but not posing as a serious threat to the McLaren driver.

Unfortunately for Piastri, the safety car and a collision with Carlos Sainz of Ferrari dropped him down to a final result of P13. Yet the pace of the McLaren and the exciting, incredible, title-breaking, victorious, well-deserved WIN, was a huge relief for Norris, who had set the record for most podiums without a victory. After 110 race starts in Formula One, Lando Norris drove his car and the Papaya team to a glorious victory.

Fast forward two weeks and we are back on the track. The first race of the season to take place in Europe – Emilia Romagna.

With both McLaren cars now having the upgrade, they were a force to be reckoned with. A spectacular drive from Piastri saw him qualify P2 for the race, and Norris P3 – both cars in contention for the win. Unfortunately, due to impeding Magnussen during qualifying, Piastri was given a three-place grid penalty, putting him in P5, behind both the Ferrari’s on home turf. Nevertheless, this did not stop the young Australian driver.

The race at Emilia Romagna was a gruelling battle on a circuit notorious for its difficulty in overtaking, meaning the start was crucial. Norris got a fast start off the line, yet was beaten into turn one by Verstappen, who took a comfortable lead early on. Piastri stayed a stuck goose behind the two Ferrari’s, only seeing red for most of his race.

It was only at the end of the Grand Prix, with 10-laps to go, that Norris came alive. Verstappen was having trouble steering his car as well as his battery quickly running away from him; fighting the car that would lead him to victory. Yet, in his mirrors, an orange Papaya hunted him down, right until the very end. The chase was on, and Norris did not back down.

Norris was driving the car to the limit

The two cars started around 7 seconds apart, by the last lap it was less than a second. Norris was driving the car to the limit, nearly driving into the gravel multiple times. The crowd roared with content; Verstappen versus Norris, best friends, both Grand Prix winners, who was going to win?

DRS opened up down the last straight for Norris, but it just wasn’t enough. Verstappen crossed the line, 0.7seconds ahead of Norris in P2, shortly followed by the Ferrari of Leclerc in P3 – making history as the first Ferrari driver to finish on the podium in Emilia Romagna since Schumacher. The second McLaren in Piastri came home to a strong P4 in front of Sainz in P5.


So, what have we learnt?

Well, the season has only just begun; the competition is heating up on the track and McLaren are bringing the fight to Red Bull. The gap has closed significantly – now they are less than a second away from the Bull, not 10/20 seconds. Ferrari have all to play for, with Leclerc taking P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. And finally, the three contending cars for the Championship (at this moment in time) are Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari – driving distances away from Mercedes and Aston Martin.

Eda Onay

Featured image courtesy of Karo Kujanpaa via Unsplash. Image use license found here. No changes were made to this image.


In article image 1 courtesy of @landonorris via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 2 courtesy of @mclaren via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 



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