F1 Miami GP live updates: Lando Norris notches his maiden win in Miami

GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

Max Verstappen’s relentlessly boring dominance has been like a pin quickly approaching the giant balloon that is Formula 1 interest in the United States.

New fans in America, drawn in by the allure of “Drive to Survive” and the thrilling 2021 title fight, have begun to sour on the trendy racing series. Verstappen, despite being an all-time great driver on a fantastically elite team, has sucked all the air out of the room on a regular basis.

Over. And over. And over.

Fans always lead these booms in sport, and in this case the celebrities and corporations and cash followed. But if the fans were to quietly tune out and no longer have interest in $2,000 tickets and $250 quesadillas, how much longer could F1’s boom have lasted in this country?

In that sense, Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix should come as a sigh of relief to F1 and Liberty Media, its American owner. Lando Norris, one of the most popular drivers on one of the most popular teams, is an F1 race winner at long last.

With all of the star power and attention focused on this race, Norris grabbing the lead on a well-timed safety car suddenly made American fans perk up from their near-slumber. For once, this wasn’t just going through the motions: Lights out! Exciting first corner! Oh…Max is pulling away. Annnnd he won again by 15 seconds.

Somehow, Verstappen didn’t win this time. It wasn’t because of some odd mechanical failure, either.

Norris was simply fast enough to stay in front following the end of the safety car period, and he even pulled away from the Red Bull.

That’s exactly the type of thing American fans need to see in order to keep tuning in week after week. No one is under the illusion Verstappen and Red Bull won’t continue to dominate, but Miami at least showed it’s not a foregone conclusion, and is therefore worth watching.

And that it came under the watch of Indiana’s Zak Brown, a longtime American marketing executive who ascended to the lead role of a cherished legacy team, fits into the narrative even better.

Will this suddenly vault F1 back to the heights it teased when Verstappen was battling Lewis Hamilton in 2021? No, not one race alone.

But at least it buys some time and might encourage viewers to stick around when they otherwise seemed to be on the verge of finding something else to watch.

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