Vegas GP exceeds expectations as Verstappen wins opening race

Max Verstappen hated everything about the Las Vegas Grand Prix from the moment he arrived in Sin City. The three-time World Champion of Formula One found the extravagance and opulence at the top a priority over current racing.

They really changed their tune after their 18th win of the season.

“Long live Las Vegas! Long live Las Vegas!” Verstappen sang while passing under the checkered flag waved by Justin Bieber. Verstappen had criticized Saturday night’s spectacle at every opportunity, yet raced in an Elvis-inspired firesuit and won on the famous Las Vegas Strip.

“I hope everyone enjoyed it, we certainly did. I’m excited to come back here next year and try to do something similar,” said Verstappen, who finished his week on the Las Vegas showdown. The situation had clearly been reversed.

He admitted, “It was a fun race. I enjoyed it.”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands leads the race during the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc at the start, then overcame a penalty to pass Leclerc once again with 13 laps remaining, continuing his season-long dominance. Verstappen, Leclerc and Sergio Pérez were taken in a limousine to a stage located near the Bellagio – “We go straight to the nightclub”, Verstappen told his fellow podium finishers – but instead they were taken to the casino’s famous fountain show. Have been taken.

The Bellagio fountains were turned off throughout the week and then restarted as part of the victory celebrations. As they stood talking, none of them seemed interested. After receiving their trophies, they were treated to a New Year’s Eve-style fireworks show on the Strip.

Martin Garrix then launched into a blazing DJ set to entertain those who opened their wallets for the most expensive spectator race of the season. The celebrities danced on the grid and everyone seemed thrilled with the show. Stars in attendance included Brad Pitt, Rihanna, Usain Bolt and Shaquille O’Neal as F1 said it attracted more than 315,000 spectators over the weekend and was estimated to have brought in US$1.2 billion (NZ$2 billion) on Las Vegas. There was an economic impact.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco leads Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico during the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Leclerc said, “I really enjoyed it, and I’m especially happy that we ended the weekend on a high note because I was sad to see such a bad start on Thursday for a sport I love so much.” ” “The fact that our race was amazing makes it even better.”

The race was the third stop of the season in the United States, more than any other country, and was promoted by F1 and owner Liberty Media. But the event has been criticized – particularly by Verstappen – for insisting on becoming a neon extravaganza.

Tickets were expensive, hotels on the famous strip raised their prices, and the sporting element of the 21st race of the season was overshadowed by celebrities, concerts and countless Elvis impersonators roaming in the paddock that included a wedding chapel where the former F1 Champion Jacques Villeneuve was married earlier this week.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, left, of the Netherlands and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco celebrate after finishing first and second during the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Liberty had previously expected to spend US$500 million (NZ$833 million) on the Grand Prix, which it promoted itself, but there was speculation in the paddock ahead of Saturday night’s race that Liberty had gone well over budget. The entire event was almost brought to a halt nine minutes into the first practice session on Thursday night when Carlos Sainz Jr. tripped over a drainage valve cover on the track, badly damaging his Ferrari, and F1 had to pull over to the 6.2-kilometre circuit for an inspection. Had to be closed.

Fans were forced to leave at 1.30am on Friday morning after watching only nine minutes of track action. Second practice started at 2.30pm and ran until 4pm, and instead of an apology, F1 offered a US$200 (NZ$333) credit in the LVGP merchandise store to ticket holders who had purchased Thursday-only access. A class-action lawsuit was filed Friday against the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

This made it important for F1 to deliver a good race on Saturday night, and, even though it was Verstappen’s sixth consecutive win, it was one of the most spirited events of the season. Additionally, a track that was compared to a “flying pig” due to its layout was praised for its racism.


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