rise of lando

Lando Norris: From Rising Star to Britain's 21st Grand Prix Champion

Six years, 110 race entries, 15 podiums and Lando Norris is finally, officially, a Formula 1 Grand Prix winner.

The British driver has broken his streak of most podiums without standing on the top step, which in the current era of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing’s dominance, has been a difficult feat. Having matched and passed Nick Heidfield’s record of 13 trips to the podium without winning, Lando Norris’ time to stand at the top and experience the emotions of hearing the British national anthem as an F1 driver has finally arrived.

Hailing Valentino Rossi as his motorsport hero from the beginning, Lando’s first interest was racing on two wheels, which soon changed to four. A karting career which began at the age of seven with countless titles – including making history when he became the youngest karting world championship winner at 14 – turned into a fast-paced career in first, closed wheel racing in the 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship followed by the beginning of a single seater career which would see him climb the ranks to reach the absolute pinnacle of world motorsport: Formula 1.

Lando’s relationship with Carlin Motorsport blossomed in 2015, when he joined the team to compete in what was then the MSA Formula 4 Championship (now British F4), and he started his campaign in the first race of the new series on the right foot, taking a win at Brands Hatch. He continued to win races at circuits across the country, including at Silverstone, before taking the title – his first title in single seaters, setting him up for a career at the top over the coming years.

In 2016, Lando moved to the other side of the world to compete in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand. A daunting move, no doubt, but one that proved worthwhile when Lando won the championship ahead of current Formula E driver, Jehan Daruvala. Lando’s return to Europe saw him become champion in both Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and Formula Renault 2.0 NEC. His successful 2016 racing campaigns led to winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in the year before he joined the iconic Woking-based outfit as their Test and Simulator Driver, a move which was preparing him for success in Formula 1 way before he imagined it possible.

Lando reunited with Carlin in 2017 for the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, alongside his test role with McLaren. Bagging another championship, Lando was then promoted to Test and Reserve Driver with McLaren in 2018, all while racing at the Daytona 24 Hours with United Autosports, alongside current fellow F1 driver, Fernando Alonso, and making his Formula 2 debut, still with Carlin. Lando’s F2 campaign started with a trip to the top step of the podium after taking pole in Bahrain and the remainder of the year saw him battling with his fellow 2019 F1 rookies, Mercedes’ George Russell and Williams’ Alexander Albon. He ended his F2 campaign as runner up, after two FP1 outings with McLaren in Belgium and Italy. On 3rd September 2018, McLaren announced that Lando, only aged 18 at the time, would be taking the step up to F1 from 2019.

Lando made his official, full-time, Formula 1 debut at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz as his teammate.

In his first season, and McLaren’s first season back on the up, Lando took 11 top-10 finishes, his best finish a sixth place on two occasions, in Bahrain – his second race – and in Austria at the Red Bull Ring, a circuit which would become one of the most iconic in Lando’s career the following year. After a whirlwind first season including everything from on-track incidents, battles and even retirements, Lando finished just outside of the top 10 in the World Drivers’ Championship standings, accumulating a total of 49 points.


2020 seemed normal enough as teams and drivers flew down under to Australia for the beginning of the new season, but as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, F1 as the world knew it came to an abrupt halt. Whilst life paused, Lando led the way for a new wave of F1 racing. Streaming on Twitch wasn’t unusual for Lando, but his rapid growth in popularity paved the way for his racing counterparts to join him and as well as having fun with one another, the drivers brought entertainment and comfort to thousands of fans worldwide and raised money for vital causes throughout the pandemic.

When the 2020 season was officially given the green flag, the F1 calendar looked a little different, with the opening two races held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. At the first race of the season, a new era for Lando began. The era of Last Lap Lando, which became synonymous throughout his fanbase, and the era of Lando Norris officially finishing races on the podium. As the name suggests, an incredible final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix saw Lando reduce his gap to Sir Lewis Hamilton – who had a five-second penalty – to 4.8 seconds. Lando took the first podium of his career, and the first podium of many.

Although he came close on multiple occasions throughout the remainder of the 2020 season, Lando didn’t return to the podium until the following year, with the first coming at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where he finished third. Lando added another two podiums to his tally in 2021, first at the iconic Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren’s first podium in the principality since Jenson Button’s P3 with the team in 2011. His third trip to the podium in 2021 came at the Austrian Grand Prix, one year after Lando claimed his first F1 career podium at the Red Bull Ring.

Mid-2021 seemed like a turning point for Lando and McLaren. Dominating qualifying on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps, Lando was set to put in a storming lap in Q3, however, treacherous on-track conditions turned what looked to be a positive result into disaster. Despite Sebastian Vettel’s calls for the session to be red flagged, green conditions remained in the wet, and Lando lost control of his McLaren heading into Eau Rouge, the rear of the car hitting the barrier, tearing the rear wing and sending debris across the track. A corner on any racing calendar plagued with incidents and sadness, fans and drivers alike were delighted to see Lando emerge unscathed, but his pace was promising ahead of the following races.

The Italian Grand Prix round at Monza saw McLaren take their first win since 2012, but with Daniel Ricciardo. They secured a one-two, with Lando following close behind in second, and fans of the Brit were desperate to see him take his well-deserved spot on the top step of the podium, especially now that McLaren were back and capable of winning races.

Fast forward to the Russian Grand Prix two weeks later, and Lando clinched his first ever F1 career pole with a time of 1:41.993. This qualifying result in Sochi had quickly become his closest chance to a race win yet; all he needed was a clean Grand Prix on Sunday, and it all seemed possible, until the heavens opened over the Sochi Autodrom.

With the rain came the decision to stay out on slicks or pit for Intermediate tyres, which second place Lewis Hamilton decided to do, a choice that would eventually lead him to win the race. With worsening on-track conditions, and despite a good record in the wet, Lando aquaplaned at turn five and saw Hamilton pass him, and take his dream of winning a Formula 1 race with him. Lando finished seventh. There would be another opportunity for the win.

Lando took only one podium in the 2022 season, again at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. He finished the year in P7 with a total of 122 points and was seeing in the new year of F1 with a brand-new teammate, rookie Oscar Piastri.

The beginning of the 2023 season was a difficult one for both McLaren drivers; in the first half of the season, Lando only finished in the top 10 positions at four races. But then, home race week rolled around, with fans and drivers alike heading to the Home of British Motorsport, and with McLaren came some exciting upgrades. An extensive upgrade to the package, McLaren debuted a new front wing, nose, rear corner and rear suspension, bringing hope to every Lando fan who had flocked to Silverstone. And, an extensive upgrade it was, with Lando qualifying in second, and, come the Grand Prix, leading the race into turn one at Abbey ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Lando’s lead didn’t last until the chequered flag, but he maintained his second-place position and took his first ever F1 podium at home, alongside Lewis Hamilton, in front of an adoring British crowd.


Lando’s success continued, and he took podiums in Hungary, Singapore, Japan, America (COTA) and Brazil. With six second-place finishes and one third-place finish, taking seven trips to the podium in total, there was only one more spot he needed to acquire as his own.

At the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, Lando finished in P3. Jump two races to China, and Lando took second, getting closer and closer to that top spot. But, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s continued on-track dominance, P2 seemed like the best finish Lando could get.

Until the Miami Grand Prix.


Only in its third year, the Miami Grand Prix is held at the Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins, is one of three races in America this year. Hosting a sprint race for the first time in 2024, Lando qualified in P9 for Saturday’s sprint, despite boasting strong lap times in both Q1 and Q2. The sprint didn’t go as planned, however, with Lando involved in a first lap incident with the two Aston Martin drivers and Hamilton, leading him to watch the race from the sidelines. Qualifying for the Grand Prix was better, with a P5 start looking promising.

With his tyres still in perfect condition and with no sign of dropping off, the decision to pit later by the McLaren pit wall worked in Lando’s favour when the Safety Car collected the pack on lap 28 after a collision between Logan Sargeant and Kevin Magnussen. A perfect stop to switch onto the Hard tyre and a perfect restart from Lando had him leading Max Verstappen by over one second within one lap.

The gap between the two friends grew as the race went on. A victory was in sight. It was all about keeping a cool head, keeping the pace, and hoping that no other on-track incidents caused another Safety Car interruption.


Come lap 57, Lando crossed the line to begin his final lap with a 7.7 second gap to Max Verstappen, a deficit almost unheard of in the dominance of Red Bull and the three-time World Champion. Lando reached the chequered flag first, with Verstappen coming home almost eight seconds after. Finally, a win for Lando Norris on his 110th attempt. A win based on pure speed and merit. A win that was so well-deserved.

A special moment for team and driver, Lando Norris became the 21st British winner of a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

And now, with Lando’s home race at Silverstone only five races away, here’s to hoping that, with the upgrades on his MCL38, he can storm to victory on home soil, in front of an atmospheric home crowd.

TICKETS: See Lando Norris in action at the British Grand Prix