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Verstappen admits he could do nothing to stop ‘flying’ Norris as Dutchman heaps praise on rival for maiden F1 win

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Max Verstappen has heaped praise on Lando Norris for a “deserved” breakthrough Formula 1 victory, with the Red Bull driver accepting defeat to his McLaren rival at the end of a dramatic Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen controlled the early stages of Sunday’s encounter but lost the lead to Norris under a mid-race Safety Car, with the Dutchman pitting just before it was deployed and the Briton changing tyres under it.

READ MORE: Norris beats Verstappen for breakthrough maiden F1 victory in action-packed Miami Grand Prix

Norris came under some pressure from Verstappen when the race restarted but managed to hold onto P1 and delivered an assured performance over the remaining laps to take the chequered flag.

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Perez overshoots Turn 1 and almost hits Verstappen on the race start

Asked for his reaction to the result, which also marked McLaren’s first win since the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Verstappen said: “You win, you lose. We’re all used to that in racing, right?

“Today was a bit tricky. I think already on the medium [tyres] it didn’t feel fantastic, we were pulling away but not like it should be. Then once we made a pit stop I heard what the lap times McLaren were doing and I was like, ‘Well, that’s pretty quick!’.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action as Norris beats Verstappen to Miami Grand Prix victory

“Once then they also switched onto the hard tyre, they just had more pace, especially Lando he was flying. It was incredibly difficult for us on that stint but if a bad day is P2 I take it.”

He added: “I’m very happy for Lando, it’s been a long time coming and it’s not going to be his last one, so he definitely deserves it today.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes leads

Verstappen was unable to make an impression on Norris after the Safety Car restart

Asked if McLaren are showing their ‘true pace’ after a raft of updates to their cars at the Miami International Autodrome, Verstappen said: “I hope not! They came with an upgrade, for sure it looks like it works so we have a bit of work to do from our side.

“I think definitely it wasn’t our strongest weekend in terms of race pace, but we’ll analyse it all and we’ll try to come back stronger.”

WATCH: Magnussen crash with Sargeant brings out Safety Car in Miami GP as Haas driver hit with penalty

Despite missing out on victory, Verstappen has extended his advantage at the top of the drivers’ standings to 35 points, with nearest championship rival and team mate Sergio Perez coming home back in fifth position.

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