It was a long night of celebration. The plan was to fly straight after the race, but Zak Brown decided they would fly the following day. It was time to celebrate. “This only happens once when you’re taking your first win. It’s nice to do it in Miami”, said Lando Norris.

The first times have always a special taste and McLaren driver knows it well. He was waiting for it since a long time and it finally arrived. Norris’ first Formula 1 victory catalyzed the attention of the public, rivals and insiders in Miami, to general happiness. Because you never forget your first time.

Aged 24, the Brit made his debut with McLaren in 2019 and this is his 6th season with the Woking team.  Till Miami GP he had a record: 15 podium finishes without a victory, so the joy after crossing the finish line was overwhelming: “we made it! We made it! finally!!! I love you all”.

Lando signed a masterpiece taking advantage of the circumstances in a weekend that could have been taken for granted, considered Max’s Verstappen scoring the pole and on Saturday the qualifying and the Sprint. But this belongs to the past. Lando’s success made all the rest fading away, included the incident in the Sprint that saw him involved at the start in the crash between Alonso and Stroll.

Norris would confess that he knew it from the morning. “I had the pace and I felt that this was the day”. Simply pure luck or perfect strategy, Lando took advantage of the Safety Car at lap 29. His magic pit stop allowed him to take the lead, position that he maintained till the end.

Crucial was the Lando’s determination at the re-start after the Safety Car when Max Verstappen tried to attack him. From that moment, thanks to the fresh tires and a very solid pace, he built a gap and went to win after 110 GPs in career.

It wasn’t the most straightforward race for him, taking the start in fifth, going back to sixth, and then having to fight his way through. “The whole weekend has been good. I’ve just had some little setbacks along the way, but I knew on Friday we had the pace. We made a couple of mistakes here and there, but on Sunday we managed to put it together”, he confessed, “we put the perfect strategy, it all paid off so thanks to McLaren”.

The screaming inside the helmet, the fist towards the sky, the collective hug with the team and then one by one  with all the other drivers coming to congratulate him: Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, …. even Max Verstappen was glad that if he had to be beaten, it was better by Lando. Impossible not to love him, everyone in the F1 paddock was truly happy for his long awaited first victory.

“This victory has been a long time coming and it felt incredible. There was a great crowd, the whole team. if I have to frame that moment on top of the podium is a lot of smiling, a lot of cheers. I have been dreaming of these days but you never know when they’re going to come towards you. Sunday was that day”.

For Lando was pure happiness and a big relief. “It’s difficult to describe with words. My mind was going crazy and I was thinking a lot of things, but at the same time I was quiet. It was just a bit lonely out there at times and it’s just nice to kind of reflect on everything you’ve done to get to that point”.

Just as the good boy next door, Lando called immediately his parents and was visibly moved: he smiled, he cried, he was over the moon.

“It felt natural to call my mum and dad. They have been so supportive: they’re the ones who are with you from the start, the ones that got me into racing, supported me, and allowed me to get to Formula 1, reach my dream, and do what I’ve loved to do since I was a kid”.

Lando couldn’t stop smiling looking back: his life, like a movie, was unfolding in front of his eyes: “I had these flashbacks of every moment that took me where I am now like my very first time at a racetrack when I was five years old. My brother, my dad, and me just standing there and watching the cars go by….It’s incredible to look back from the top of the podium.

“To get that first victory is always incredible. I have had my moments where we’ have been close, and I’ve never been able to convert it into the win. I wasn’t worried, but in a way this result feels like a weight off my shoulders. A lot of people doubted that I was going to be able to put it together and win a race. I have remained patient.  I was more confident than ever this year that me and the team had what it takes. I kept working hard and doing what I can do best. I knew my time was coming”.

Lando’s win was a team success, the fruit of hard work starting with the team Principal Andrea Stella, protagonist of the reconstruction of the team. The arrival of the updates in Miami on Lando’s car gave their results as the highlight of a strategic work that made McLaren shining.

“The team has done an amazing job. We weren’t even into Q2 here last year”, commented the Brit, “look where we are now: we are on top and we have won a race. We have done an insane job to go from where we were to where we are now”.

The updates arrived as it was scheduled, and they made the difference but they were not the only ingredients of Miami’s success. “The last couple of months have been incredible: so much work to finally been able to deliver. The upgrades made their part but it I believe it was the sum of many little things coming together: that made a perfect magic day”.