Dre’s Race Review: Formula 1’s 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Lando Norris finally gets his Maiden win after 110 attempts, K-Mag forces a rules referendum, and Donald Trump scars McLaren’s brightest day in years. Dre on the Miami GP.

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Dre Harrison Reviews



Read time: 9 mins

“Lando, Hope and Glory.”

Welcome back to another edition of Dre’s Race Review on the Motorsport101 Blog Section. In this episode, we look back at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix. After 110 Grand Prix starts and the most podiums of any F1 driver in history before his first win finally came, Lando Norris took his maiden GP victory in shocking, thrilling fashion. Let’s get into it. 

About fucking time, to borrow the French from the man himself. Given the reign of Red Bull dominance that we’re currently in, I wasn’t sure this day would ever come for Lando Norris. I always hated the fact he had such an unfair reputation of being labelled a “choker” when he never really had the machinery to cross that bridge. It was a level of expectation that never fit the equipment he was given. The best car Lando has ever had, was distant bronze medallists in terms of pound-for-pound car strength in 2020 and 2023. If you’re expecting that package to win, I’m going to assume you also actively stan for Drake. 

Norris has had maybe two clear-cut chances to win a race in his entire 110-start career. Sochi 2021, which I still maintain was more down to his team’s poor communication over the track conditions (And even then, he had Lewis Hamilton in a top-tier Mercedes breathing down his neck), and Monza 2021, one of the very few occasions that Daniel Ricciardo was genuinely the quicker man in Orange. Yes, he’s made some qualifying blunders here and there, the Sprint on Friday in Miami was no exception, but the internet punishment never truly fit the crime. 

As George Russell said on X yesterday, it was always going to be a matter of when, and McLaren brought the heat with another ridiculous mid-season upgrade. Almost every aerodynamic panel on the car was new, and despite having to sit back early on as the top end of the field was in an intense tactical stalemate, Norris brought himself into play by latching onto the back of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and waited for his chance.

He ran long on his Medium tyres when the field around him all eventually caved due to the slippery overheating conditions on a 46-degree track. But ironically, in the open air, he cooked. Norris was bringing himself into play via sheer, force of will. And sometimes when you’re that quick, you make your own luck, with Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant crashing into each other and bringing out a Safety Car. And better yet, a Safety Car that accidentally picked up Max Verstappen as the leader initially. (given recent history, almost understandable)

Norris got the precious track position he needed, and despite almost choking the start, he pulled away from Verstappen and never looked back. Max had problems of his own, the Red Bull’s tendency to go easy on their tyres sometimes means they struggle to fully utilise their pace, combined with underfloor damage he picked up when committing vehicular manslaughter on the bollard under the bridge. Max just didn’t have the pace to stay with Norris and had to settle for second. But given Perez limped home in 5th, and he took the Sprint, it’s still a good weekend on the whole for the Dutchman with Norris not a title threat at present. 

The other thing to point out here was how popular a win this was. Maiden wins normally are, but it was a genuinely warm moment to see most of the paddock congratulate Lando on his first dub. From best friend Carlos Sainz to former teammate Daniel Ricciardo, to Lewis Hamilton giving an ovation from his cockpit. On track and off track, Lando has built himself up into one of the most popular drivers of the social media era. From outstanding performances to an excellent content creation firm now worth millions. He’s earned this moment in the sun. And I’m pretty confident in saying that it won’t be his last. 

I don’t envy Kevin Magnussen. He doesn’t want to do this. But for the good of Haas as a team, he has to. In the Sprint, with Nico Hulkenberg in the better position, K-Mag has to defend like a madman to keep the faster Lewis Hamilton behind him. In doing so, he cuts the Sector 2 chicane to stay in front. The stewards deemed K-Mag had left the track and gained an advantage. 10-second time penalty. It was the first of SEVEN penalties K-Mag throughout the weekend, a new F1 weekend, and a tie for Esteban Ocon’s record from Austria 2023 of getting four penalties for driving standards in a single race. And K-Mag did it in a SPRINT no less. 

35 seconds of time penalties for Magnussen in that Sprint. Three times he left the track to gain an advantage, including running Hamilton four wheels off the track to stay in front, taking the time penalties on the chin, and the other for track limits itself. K-Mag knew exactly what he was doing and admitted as such. He was probably too keen to give the game away to the media because he essentially admitted he was gaming the system. That led to another stewards meeting where K-Mag was eventually cleared of unsportsmanlike conduct. Add another three in the race for the Sargeant Turn 3 send (Which felt like a hole that was always going to close), a failure to serve his penalty properly and another for not changing tyres during a Safety Car. 

A lot of people got annoyed at Magnussen’s driving. I get the gamesmanship argument and I think you could certainly make an argument for it. Lewis Hamilton being the main victim did him no favours either, we know how his audience gets down. But I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think we’re directing our anger in the wrong areas again. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

The reality is, that the current penalty system continues to be ripe for exploitation. Twice this season we’ve seen Magnussen go way over the limit for the good of his team. Time penalties in theory do their job of hurting a driver, but it doesn’t solve one fundamental problem – The offending car is still on track. We saw this last year when multiple drivers like Sergio Perez in Singapore, George Russell at COTA and Lewis Hamilton at Monza, ran through an opponent or left the track to gain an advantage and then deliberately drove off to “take the penalty” knowing they could clear off by enough to mitigate the five seconds. 

The drivers bitching about it upped the penalty to 10 seconds this season but that still isn’t enough of a deterrent. Because at the end of the day, be critical of K-Mag all you like, but those two extra points in the Constructor’s Championship will be priceless to Haas, it could be worth tens of millions at season’s end. That is worth far, FAR more than even the threat of a race ban, which will be looming for K-Mag after his penalty point count now stands at 10. Ollie Bearman will be at home rubbing his hands like Birdman but the only penalty point that matters is your twelfth.

For me, I think it’s genuinely entertaining. Seriously, the best part of the Sprint was watching Magnussen desperately try to keep position. Was it unsporting? Probably, even if the subjective nature of the phrase makes it difficult to determine. Did I enjoy watching it? Absolutely. 

And if you want a potential solution to the problem, it’s easy. Bring back the Drive Through Penalty. Make it an automatic DTP for a second driving offence on track. Gets a car out of the way so they’re not directly hampering the person behind. Simples. And given the way the stewards talked about Magnussen’s hearing on Saturday night, that could be looming over the horizon. 

I can’t leave this alone, unfortunately. Despite it being a feel-good win for Lando Norris, it was tainted by the presence of a 250-pound bottle of fake tan in the back of McLaren’s garage. And that was Disgraced Former President of the United States, Donald Trump. 

Now from what I’ve been told, he was a guest of the FIA’s and they wanted to send Donald to a team, and McLaren decided to fall on the orange grenade. They’ve since had to clarify that they’re not endorsing his politics, but on any level, it’s an ugly look for the McLaren team who didn’t want to take a stand. 

It didn’t help when Lando Norris decided “Well, I gotta hand it to him”, by endorsing the Ginger Hammer himself, saying: “Donald is someone that you got to have a lot of respect for in many ways.”

A reminder that Donald Trump is facing 80+ charges across four criminal cases against him, is one of the longest track records of bigoted beliefs against race, gender and disability, incited an armed insurrection against the Capitol building just two years ago, and has over two dozen accusations of rape and sexual harassment. 

You absolutely DO NOT “have to hand it to them’.” And look, I’m not a social hermit. I get that in the real world, away from our keyboards, it’s a lot more convenient and a heck of a lot easier to be polite, grit your teeth and keep up appearances. But it’s 2024 and if sport has proven anything in life after George Floyd’s murder, it absolutely can take a stand for the right causes. Embracing Trump undoes all of that work. This is the same F1 that banned political statements by the drivers two years ago but has no problem trying to hide the fact they’re doing the same themselves. 

And let’s not forget that Zak Brown’s idea of a diverse workplace was inviting James Corden to this very GP two years ago. 

It’s exactly why I was afraid and frustrated that Laura Winter’s powerful speech on F1TV in Saudi Arabia felt like an empty vessel making the most noise. It doesn’t matter if you craft an F1 Academy and promote the fact you have a Netflix documentary coming. It doesn’t matter if you plaster your cars in powerful women-led brands like Charlotte Tilbury.

When Susie Wolff is falsely accused of leaking information with the only evidence being misogynistic claims of “pillow talk”, when your trackside commentators for the F1 Academy say: “Not to be sexist but” as Abbi Pulling lets her hair down after dominating a race, when Christian Horner faces zero outside action for alleged sexual harassment, when you invite Donald Trump to one of your flagship events, it says to me that all you’re doing is projecting and you have no idea how to create a safe space for women to thrive from within your sport. 

Yes, it’s always been this way. Yes, sports and politics are intertwined and to deny that is ignorant as all hell. But it doesn’t have to be this way anymore and unfortunately, F1 chooses to stay in its lane. This is who we are. It’s up to the majority of us to decide whether that’s a compromise we want to make. But I’ll say this for damn sure – F1 isn’t worth your social currency if it makes you feel the same way it makes me feel sometimes. 

PS: David Croft’s finishing call when Norris wins of “Norris trumps Verstappen” is immortalised into history. That makes me feel genuinely grim.

That Safety Car comes one lap earlier and Oscar Piastri probably wins that race in his most impressive race drive to date. A damn shame his confidence was shot on the Hard compound and then he got driven into by Carlos Sainz being reckless under braking. An extra note on that by the way – Since when is losing control of your car a mitigating factor? The stewards I think were largely correct this weekend but that is a howler. 

Daniel Ricciardo nailing his Sprint setup and finishing 4th, only to have a terrible race and finish 15th is PEAK 2024 Daniel Ricciardo. Props to RB for clearly having a quick car, Yuki Tsunoda’s seventh means 11 points for the team and a solid grid on sixth in the standings. Could be very important given Haas’ relative consistency early season and Alpine hitting the scoring column for the first time.

I applaud Lewis Hamilton for figuring out a way to break the pitlane speed limit by 10 whole KPH. Great drive in the race though, was unlucky not to crack to the Top 5 after Sainz’s reduced penalty. 

How many people have gotten nervous that F1 Academy’s Doriane Pin hype train is already looking wobbly now Abbi Pulling’s won three of the first four?

Even before he was taken out in the race, James Vowles making enquiries about Kimi Antonelli’s availability surely marks the end of Logan Sargeant in F1 by season’s end. It looks like it won’t be happening regardless (I dunno why the heck the FIA would veto its trademark Superlicense policy of no one under 18), but Vowles looks like he’s just about done with the American. Get ready to learn IndyCar, buddy.

Ferrari are cowards. Make the whole damn car blue next time.

About the Author:

Dre Harrison

Somehow can now call himself a Production Coordinator at the Motorsport Network, coming off the back of being part of the awkward Johto Era at WTF1. All off a University Project that went massively out of hand. Weird huh?

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