The Las Vegas Grand Prix will be soaked in glitz, glamour and celebrity appearances – but it isn’t Max Verstappen’s cup of tea.
This weekend’s event, which will be held across the famous Strip in Sin City, officially got underway overnight with a lavish opening ceremony. It saw the 10 F1 driver pairings appear on lifts erected on the start-finish straight and then quickly disappear again.
Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez were last to appear, with the world champion looking rather bored as he gave a disinterested wave to the crowd. The Dutchman, who snubbed a red carpet event at a Vegas hotel, has given a withering verdict on the razzmatazz of the weekend.
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“For me you can all skip these kinds of things,” said Verstappen. “It’s just standing up there, [you] look like a clown. I don’t like all the things around it. I’m looking forward to trying to do the best I can but I’m not looking forward to this.”
Verstappen has “no problem” with the staging of the Las Vegas GP but said the sideshow around it is “just not really my thing”.
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“I fully understand and you can look at it two ways – business side or sport side,” he said. “So, of course I understand their side of it. I’m just voicing my opinion on the performance side of things.”
Verstappen’s view is not echoed by Red Bull stablemate Daniel Ricciardo of the sister AlphaTauri team. The Aussie, a fantastic of all things Stateside, said: “Don’t get me wrong, I like the races where you can stay out and probably rent an Airbnb, a bit isolated, whatever – but I’m a sucker for Vegas. So, being here, it’s pretty cool.
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“I’m more in awe that they put this together. We drove on the track last night, to have a little bit of a look, because a track walk at 2am is too late for me, but The Strip has that long DRS straight. It’s probably going to be the most exciting straight we’ve driven on. I’m excited, yeah.”
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