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Lando Norris

McLaren feel 'weight has lifted' as matured Norris finally delivers

It has been a long time coming for Lando Norris, with his win in Miami a relief for not just himself but all of McLaren.

Norris win Miami 2024
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella feels Lando Norris' maiden grand prix victory has lifted a weight off the shoulders of not only the British driver but his entire organisation.

At the 110th time of asking in his F1 career, Norris can proudly proclaim himself to be a grand prix winner after taking the chequered flag in Miami, beating three-time champion Max Verstappen by almost eight seconds.

The win has been a long time coming for Norris, who should arguably have won his first race in Russia three years ago, only to make a poor judgment call when the conditions took a turn for the worse.

Last season, Norris finished runner-up on six occasions, and he was again second in China a fortnight ago, leaving a question mark hanging over him as to when he would finally break his duck.

Armed with a suite of upgrades on his McLaren for the weekend in Miami, Norris delivered, producing a superb first stint on his tyres that carried him through to a safety car period that played into his hands after Haas' Kevin Magnussen had crashed into the Williams of Logan Sargeant.

Assessing the impact of the victory, Stella said: "Realistically, it [not winning] was a bit of a weight on his shoulders, but it was some weight on our shoulders as well because we knew that as soon as we had made winning material available to Lando, he would have delivered.

"So we felt the responsibility, and I've said many times now, we feel it's up to us, it's not up to Lando, but credit to Lando that he kept developing.

"We've spoken about how he developed over the winter, especially looking at, for instance, improving in qualifying, delivering laps that sometimes don't have to be 100 per cent. When you have a fast car, just be there, and he's doing that.

"I have to say, his race management is now also very mature. As soon as he saw there wasn't much to do after the first lap he started to save his tyres because he knew his race would come at some stage.

"Then, the pace he was able to pull off once the cars ahead of him pitted, was quite incredible.

"He is fast in qualifying, even sometimes pacing himself, and very mature in the race in getting the most out of the material."

It was not just Norris, though, who was savouring his maiden triumph because for Stella it was also his first win since taking over as team principal at the start of last season.

The Italian has transformed McLaren since his arrival and was rewarded by joining Norris on the podium stage to collect the winning constructor trophy.

As modest as ever, Stella refused to take too much credit. He said: "A victory as a team principal is just like the victory of the team.

"My role is just to serve and represent the team, so what you see now in one person you see in 850 people. That's where my thoughts, my heart, and my mind goes because I know what kind of work we have put in together to turn the situation around from 14 months ago.

"Then there is the quality because all teams will be pushing 100 per cent, so ultimately, it's the combination of the efforts, the quantity and the quality.

"This is the element that I would like to highlight the most, just the quality of the engineers, the technical people, the operators, the mechanics, everyone. We call it total competition. There is such a huge, wide effort that you have to put in together.

"As a team principal that's what I have in front of me at this moment. You don't go very far if you don't have the right people."

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