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Lando Norris: Jenson Button, Danica Patrick, Martin Brundle hail McLaren driver's long-awaited first F1 win

The Sky Sports F1 team reflect on the significance of Lando Norris' maiden F1 victory and what might happen next for the in-form Englishman and ever-improving McLaren team; Plus the road to the breakthrough win for Norris after several near-misses

Lando Norris has the "personality of a champion" and his victory in the Miami GP is likely to be the first of many in the years to come, according to the Sky Sports F1 pundits.

Norris' long wait for a maiden triumph at motorsport's top level is finally over after 15 winless podium appearances and several near-misses in his 109 race starts before Sunday's impressive breakthrough success.

The 24-year-old, who joined the grid with McLaren after a stratospheric junior career in 2019, has long been recognised as one of F1's brightest stars and a likely world champion of the future, with the team consistently underling their faith in him by locking him down to successive multi-year deals to ward off potential suitors such as Red Bull.

"He just has the personality of a champion," said Sky Sports F1's Danica Patrick, a race winner herself in IndyCar, after the affable Norris became the 114th driver to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

"So much talent. He has confidence. He is fast. He is funny. He has a great personality.

"I feel like for a while now it's been like 'someday he's going to win a championship' and it's very, very cool to see him win his first race.

"I'm sure it feels so sweet too with how many high points, and lows, he's had in the last couple of races."

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Highlights of the Miami Grand Prix where Lando Norris became the 21st driver from the United Kingdom to win a Formula 1 race.

Norris' first win at the 110th attempt in F1 was just three fewer races than it took Jenson Button to climb the podium's top step, at the 2006 Hungarian GP.

Button went on to win 15 grands prix and the 2009 world title before joining Sky Sports.

"Very proud of him," said Button, who was McLaren's reserve driver when Norris joined the Woking outfit's young driver programme aged 17 in 2017.

"It has been a long time coming. It feels like forever when you are in the sport and you haven't won a race.

"He's had a couple of opportunities, it hasn't gone his way, so it's lovely to see him on the top step.

"That memory sticks with you forever. You still need the car to perform and get that result again. For me it took three years [between first and second win], hopefully it won't take him that long to win his second race.

"But it doesn't change the way he's going to go racing. He's a confident driver, he's very skilled and he's a team player. So I expect to see them winning more over the years to come and I just hope it's sooner rather than later so we can have this fight between Red Bull and McLaren, which would be amazing."

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown says 'why not' to a tattoo commemorating Lando Norris' first Formula 1 win at Miami to match the ink he had for former McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo's first win for the team back in 2021.

Patrick agreed that, while clearly a significant moment in his career, Norris was already clearly on an upward trajectory.

"Sometimes you learn how to win," she added. "You have the right mentality for it and everyone starts picturing and seeing you that way, which has its own momentum and energy.

"But I'm not sure it really changes a whole lot because we all saw this coming. He's almost won many times and everyone believes we are going to see him win so many more, and eventually a championship.

"So this is the beginning of something really fun."

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Lando Norris proved what a popular person he is after so many drivers were quick to say how happy they were for the Brit to earn his first Grand Prix win.

One notable aspect of Norris' Miami triumph was the way in which his peers on the grid, including some of F1's most successful ever drivers, warmly congratulated him on the long-awaited success both in person and through their own post-race interviews.

"They mean it too," said Martin Brundle.

"They searched him out to say congratulations. He's a nice lad in the car and out of the car, but fiercely competitive too of course. It's a popular victory all round.

"He deserves it. He's earned it the hard way and it is a big moment."

Norris' long journey to F1's top step: The near-misses and that Sochi heartache

Although eight of his 15 career podium finishes up to Miami had come since last July - including an impressive seven second places - it has been unfortunate timing in many respects for the ever-improving Englishman.

That's because those strong results have coincided with Max Verstappen's near-total dominance of the sport.

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McLaren's Lando Norris takes on the Lie Detector, and predicted his first win would come in 2024...and duly claimed victory at the Miami GP!

Perhaps gallingly for Norris and many of the grid's other leading names was the fact that, up until Miami, on both occasions in the previous 25 races that Verstappen didn't win, it was Ferrari's Carlos Sainz who beat them to it. At last September's Singapore GP, Norris finished a tantalising 0.8 seconds behind Sainz, his former McLaren team-mate, in second place.

But what was truly Norris' greatest victory near-miss came at the Russian GP of 2021.

On the weekend he became Britain's youngest-polesitter, Norris led Lewis Hamilton at the front with three laps to go yet finished only seventh after suffering late-race heartache in the rain.

The McLaren driver's race spectacularly unravelled on the decision not to pit for intermediate tyres as rain started to fall late on in Sochi. Like Norris, Hamilton was initially of the same mind to stay out on slicks but Mercedes overruled the seven-time champion and brought him in, whereas McLaren kept their less-experienced man out.

But with the rain only intensifying from there, Norris spun off the road at the first corner on his slicks with two laps to go, with Hamilton on his grippier tyres moving ahead and going on to secure his 100th win. By the time the McLaren was in the pits and put on the right tyres, it was all too little, too late.

"I'm unhappy, devastated in a way," said Norris afterwards. "It was my decision, I thought it was the way to go.

"It was the wrong one at the end of the day but I made the decision just as much as the team."

Norris reflects on his Sochi near-miss

Speaking after the Miami GP, Norris was asked if he had been thinking about Russia 2021 in the race's final laps...

"Russia ‘21 was a very, very different situation to today.

"A lot of people talk c*** about Sochi and the things which went on. And yes, I potentially lost out on a victory. I did lose out on a victory. I and we.

"I never want to drag the team down but I didn't do the best of jobs and as a team we didn't. So that happened.

"And as much as people, yeah, like to continue to use that and say, even after China last weekend when I made a mistake in Turn One on Lewis.

"Yeah, I mean a lot of people doubted that I could go out and win races and perform under the pressure of leading the race, especially with Max behind you and those types of things, but really this year I felt more confident than ever. I wasn't thinking of these things."

That Sochi race and agonising end result came two weeks after Norris had seen an unexpected first victory chance pass him by when he finished second to then-team-mate Daniel Ricciardo at Monza in McLaren's first win since 2012.

As was the case for most of their two years together, Norris had outqualified Ricciardo in Italy and lined up fourth for the Saturday Sprint. But he was beaten by the sister car in the 18-lap mini-race, a result which proved crucial to the outcome a day later.

Lando Norris' F1 record so far

Debut Australia 2019
Race starts 110
Wins 1
Second places 8
Third places 7
Total podiums 16
Points finishes 84
Pole positions 1
Front-row starts 5
Best championship finish 6th (2021, 2023)

With the results of the Sprint at that time setting the starting order for the Sunday Grand Prix, Ricciardo started as the lead McLaren on the main grid and as he took the race lead from pole-sitter Verstappen at the start, Norris dropped behind Hamilton, and the tone was set for the Australian to go on and claim his eighth career win.

Norris ended up finishing 1.7s behind Ricciardo in second after Verstappen and Hamilton's second controversial collision of the season had taken both title contenders out, bringing out the Safety Car.

Fifty-eight races later, McLaren are back in the winner's circle - and this time the moment is undisputedly Norris'.

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