News

‘Leave him to it’ – Norris’ race engineer reflects on an emotional victory for McLaren

Share
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, 1st position, crosses the line to cheers from his team on the pit wall

Will Joseph has been Lando Norris’ race engineer since the Brit joined the team in 2019, and was the first voice Norris heard over the radio when he crossed the line to take a famous victory in Miami.

The duo have worked closely together down the years, sharing highs as well as lows – and Joseph reflected on both post-race when the initial jubilation had died down.

READ MORE: ‘I finally delivered for them’ – Norris pays tribute to McLaren after 'about time' debut F1 win in Miami

“We did it Will,” was Norris’ immediate reaction as he took the chequered flag, his voice almost choked with emotion.

“We finally did, well done,” came the reply, as Joseph conceded hilariously that he had read the post-race documents detailing where the winner was to park this week – implying he thought there might be some use to that information.

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, celebrates with his team on arrival in Parc Ferme

Norris was thrown up in the air after diving into the waiting arms of his team in Miami

He spoke to Sky Sports F1 after the podium celebrations, and was quick to cast his mind back to the last time he thought he was coaching Norris to victory.

“It feels a long time coming, especially after Russia but no, it feels good,” Joseph said, referencing the Sochi 2021 race when Norris was leading and heading for victory until a late rain shower turned the race on its head.

FACTS AND STATS: Norris becomes 21st British winner on 110th McLaren start

“[Sochi] haunts me every day, it haunts me in my sleep! I feel like we can put that behind us now, I mean what a fantastic race! We discussed after qualifying the decisions we had made and we weren’t so sure, I think I’ll go back to him and say maybe they were the right ones!”

It might have been an up and down weekend for Norris on paper, two disappointing qualifying performances and a DNF in the Sprint countered by his belief that his heavily upgraded McLaren had plenty of latent pace.

2024 Miami Grand Prix: ‘We did it!’ – Listen to Norris’s jubilant team radio messages on his victory lap in Miami

But he delivered in the Grand Prix, with one exchange midway through highlighting the belief both Norris and Joseph had in the MCL38. After being bottled up behind Sergio Perez, when the Mexican pitted Joseph told Norris he thought they shouldn’t worry about covering off the Red Bull and, instead, should concentrate on chasing down Carlos Sainz ahead.

Norris agreed with the aggressive approach – and in doing so, exhibited such a turn of pace that he brought himself right back into the reckoning for the victory, helped by the timing of the Safety Car.

READ MORE: 'Luck comes to the guys who deserve it' – F1 drivers reflect on Norris’ ‘special’ debut win in Miami

“We said this morning maybe our game is to go long and hope something happens, and when the pace is there you just do, there’s no reason to stop early and it came out at probably the best time,” Joseph conceded.

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, and Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, celebrate in Parc

Norris took 110 Grands Prix starts to record his first victory for McLaren

“I mean you have to be worried about Max [Verstappen], his pace had been strong the whole time but we were giving [Norris] the gaps in the first few laps and once we seemed comfortable, we had a six lap tyre advantage and, after a few laps we said you know leave him alone, leave him to it and he was strong, it was good.

“We still give [Norris] that advice but at the same time we know sometimes to shut up and let him do it.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a dramatic Miami Grand Prix as Norris takes debut F1 win ahead of Verstappen

As for what happened when the two met up off air, Joseph wouldn’t be drawn, saying it was between them. But having been through so much together since Norris joined the sport, it was a victory that clearly resonated throughout the whole team.

And with McLaren’s upgrades clearly going in the right direction, Joseph was quick to look ahead with the papaya team very much in the ascendancy: “Bring on Imola!”

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

News

Alonso concerned Aston Martin are ‘back in the midfield’ after team fail to score in Monaco