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McLaren’s victorious weekend in Miami

Written by Alrissa Mariam, Edited by Debargha Banerjee

What a celebratory weekend it had been for the Papaya outfit in Miami. The hottest topic was McLaren’s Lando Norris securing his maiden win and leading by a 7 second gap from RedBull’s dominating Max Verstappen. Norris’ long awaited victory was dedicated to his grandmother and the team dedicated it to Gil de Ferran–McLaren’s Former Sporting Director who had passed last year in late December.

Image Credit: McLaren

The Brit had an eventful week, as he finished 16th during the Free Practice session, qualified 9th for the Sprint before he was forced to retire the car after a lap 1, turn 1 incident Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin.

As for Oscar Piastri, he drove an incredible weekend. Piastri finished 2nd in the Free Practice session, qualified 6th for the Sprint and went on to finish 6th as well, before qualifying 6th again for the Sunday race.

At lights out, Piastri moved up to 3rd in the first turn after Sergio Perez locked up and nearly collided with his teammate Max Verstappen. Later in the race following a Virtual Safety Car, Piastri moved up to 1st as many cars decided to box.

Further into the race Norris decided to go long on his set of tires forcing an overcut strategy and hoping for a late safety car. His prayers were answered just after a few laps when the Haas of Kevin Magnussen collided with Logan Sargeant, sending him into the barriers and ending his race.

This brought out a safety car which meant that Lando Norris could pit from the lead and still be in the lead by the time the other cars caught up to the safety car. At the restart he kept 1st place as he managed to keep Verstappen at bay down to the first corner.

From there he built a one second gap to Verstappen, keeping him away from any DRS (Drag Reduction System) threats, and beautifully managed the race.

Behind him, Piastri was having a battle of his own with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for 4th place. Contact between the two as Sainz overtook Piastri, forcing the Australian to pit so the team could replace his front wing. But that cost him his race, dropping him all the way to the back of the pack.

Image Credit:

Piastri did a remarkable job fighting his way from 19th to 13th as Norris crossed the finish line in 1st place. His win was celebrated by every driver on the grid, all of whom were happy for the driver as this win was a long time coming.

On the other hand, F1 Academy’s Bianca Bustamante, who drives with the Papaya team now, finished 3rd during Free Practice 1 and 7th for Free Practice 2. She then went on to qualify 4th place for Race 1, and 2nd for Race 2. 

During Race 1, Bustamante had fallen back to 9th place but pushed through and fought in Race 2 to come home to a well deserved finish in 2nd, just 3.801 seconds behind leader Abbi Pulling. The podium was celebrated with some of the McLaren team members coming over to show their support just as Bustamante did for Norris’ win.

Image Credit: CarGuide.PH

Perhaps, there is hope for a title battle this year if team Papaya continues at this rate. A challenge for RedBull and Ferrari to keep them on their toes and hungry for more. We shall see what Imola and Monaco bring us.


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