(CNN) — Lando Norris won the first race of his Formula One career, storming to victory at the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday in front of a crowd flooded with celebrities.

The McLaren driver began the race fifth on the grid, but after claiming the lead, took advantage of a safety car delay midway through the race to pit as leader and re-emerge ahead of his competitors.

After the restart, the 24-year-old produced a perfect drive to close out the rest of the race, finishing 7.612 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc rounded off the podium with a third-place finish.

It was a momentous race for the British driver, who was able to banish previous demons from his long-list of near-misses – Norris jointly holds the record for most podium finishes before a debut win with 15 – and stand proudly as race winner at the 110th time of asking.

“I’m just proud. A lot of people doubted me along the way. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over my last five years in my short career but today we put it altogether,” Norris told Sky Sports afterwards.

“This is all for the team. I stuck with McLaren because I could believe in them and do believe in them. Today, we proved exactly that.”

Norris is the 21st driver from the UK to win an F1 race. Sunday’s victory was also McLaren’s first grand prix victory since 2021 – and second in the last 12 years.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown was full of praise for Norris after the race, saying the victory was “long overdue.”

“I think this is a very popular win amongst the fans, amongst the drivers… [with] how many drivers went up to him and congratulated him,” Brown told Sky Sports. “He drove perfectly, the car was really fast.”

Norris moves up to fourth in the 2024 driver’s championship standings, 53 points behind Verstappen in first place, and the three-time defending drivers’ champion was happy to praise the Brit for his maiden race victory.

“I’m very happy for Lando. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s not going to be his last one,” Verstappen said.

The F1 season next heads to Italy for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with the race weekend starting on May 17.

A star-studded affair

The Miami Grand Prix has quickly become one of the most popular events on the F1 calendar and is now equally as entertaining for the celeb-spotting off the track than the racing on it.

Former NFL superstar and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, Blackpink’s Lisa, Camila Cabello, Ed Sheeran and actor Anthony Mackie were some of the celebrities in attendance at the Miami International Autodrome over race week.

There were a host of current athletes in attendance too. The Kansas City Chiefs’ star duo of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. and US Olympian Fred Kerley were also there.

Former US President Donald Trump was also among those at the track on race day.

This year’s attendance at the Miami Grand Prix was a sold out 275,000 across the race weekend, according to Formula One. In 2022, the attendance was 230,000.

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