Formula 1: The Miami Grand Prix experience, from the eyes of a fan

This past weekend, I had the unforgettable opportunity to attend the 2024 Miami Grand Prix and sat in a grandstand with a perfect view of turns 11, 12, and 13.
Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Formula 1
Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Formula 1 / Anadolu/GettyImages
3 of 3


I was waiting eagerly to enter the campus and was at the front of the line. Given it was the day I was waiting for, I had saved my Lewis Hamilton jersey. To my surprise, a camera crew came out and wanted to take some pictures of the fans while security was getting ready to open up.

As I was standing next to a fan with a Red Bull shirt on, the crew decided to interview us about our experience with Formula 1 and who we were backing for the weekend. It was a very fun moment for me as I felt so lucky to be interviewed, out of all the fans who were standing in line with me.

As soon as security let fans through, I made my way straight to the Formula 1 Academy paddock to hopefully catch a glimpse of some drivers as they were preparing for their second race of the weekend that afternoon. Hamda Al Qubaisi, Amna Al Qubaisi, and Emely de Heus were all seen walking around their cars in preparation for the race. Not many drivers were out, and I was standing behind the barrier hoping to see Doriane Pin.

After waiting for about 45 minutes, one of the security officials began moving the barriers and I was quite confused. However, he yelled out that fans could walk through the paddock, and it blew my mind. It felt so surreal walking through the Academy paddock and being so up close to the cars. Several of the drivers also came out to take pictures with fans.

I tried my best to take pictures with as many drivers as possible and was very stoked to have even had the opportunity. In the one hour when fans were allowed to enter the paddock, I managed to take pictures with Emely de Heus, Amna Al Qubaisi, Lia Block, Hamda Al Qubaisi, Tina Hausmann, Chloe Chambers, and Bianca Bustamante. It was a great moment and I later rushed to my seat as the drivers were about to make their way to the grid.

In this second race, I was hoping Pin could continue her excellent form to open the season and hopefully win this one. However, Pulling was just way too quick. I was mesmerized by her pace, given that all cars are the same. The fans were roaring for Bustamante as she drove a splendid race, finishing runner-up.

With that wrapping up the weekend for the Formula 1 Academy drivers, I can safely say that Susie Wolff should be thanked for creating an outlet for these young female drivers to have an opportunity to break through. This is a series I plan to follow for years to come.

With the main event for the weekend coming up, the stands began to fill up quickly. Nearly every single seat was taken as I looked around me. In the back of my head, I was thinking that Max Verstappen would dominate the race as usual. However, I had no idea what I was about to witness.

As the lights went out, the crowd roared, and everyone had their phones ready to take pictures and videos as the cars came into view. It was quite a beautiful sight to see all 20 cars come in, one after another, around turns 11 and 12.

When Kevin Magnussen caused a collision with Logan Sargeant toward the middle of the race, the safety car being deployed favored Lando Norris heavily. To his luck, it came out in front of Verstappen. This allowed Norris to pit and maintain a sizeable lead before the safety car wound up in front of the whole pack. Given that Mercedes were not really in the running for a podium finish, I was completely behind Norris to win the race.

With Verstappen having run over the curb and the bollard at the chicane and his car having taken some damage, it was noticeable that the gap between him and Norris was slowly increasing after the restart. 

I happened to be sitting next to a big Lando Norris fan, and he was very nervous about whether the British driver would be able to maintain the lead. As the race was nearing its closing stages, I was holding onto the hope that Norris could notch his first win.

Over the last few laps, the crowd was the loudest it had ever been when Norris came around turn 11. I felt so privileged to not only witness a Formula 1 race but one in which somebody beat Max Verstappen for the win. 

Formula 1: Lando Norris' McLaren seat suddenly at risk?. Formula 1: Lando Norris' McLaren seat suddenly at risk?. dark. Next

With this having been my first experience, it turned out to be the greatest weekend I have ever had. Considering how surreal this was for me, I hope to turn this into an annual trip going forward and witness more great moments.