Lewis Hamilton has hit back at the critics of F1 and Liberty Media ahead of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. Max Verstappen has been the leading voice of opposition against the event, complaining about the ‘boring’ track layout design and the opening ceremony that took place on Thursday.
This will be the first time that F1 has raced in Sin City since the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix and the first time in history that the actual Las Vegas streets have been used for racing. Naturally, this has attracted plenty of attention and
Discussing the conversations regarding the Las Vegas event, Hamilton said: “I hear there are a lot of people complaining about the direction that Stefano [Domenicali] and Liberty has gone. But they are doing an amazing job,” the seven-time world champion said.
“The sport continues to grow. It is a business and you will still see good racing here. It is a country to tap into and really captivate the audience. We needed to have at least two races in the US, one wasn’t enough, and this is one of the most iconic and unique cities that they have here.
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“It is a big show for sure, and it is never going to be like Silverstone, but maybe over time, the people in this community will grow to love the sport. Maybe the track will be good, and maybe it will be bad. It was so-so on the simulator. But don’t knock it until you try it.”
However, this view was not supported by many of the drivers, including reigning world champion Verstappen. After taking part in the opening ceremony, he said: “For me, you can all skip these things. It’s not about the singer, it’s just standing up there, you look like a clown.”
When asked how much of the weekend he thought was a show, Verstappen said: “99 per cent show, and 1 per cent sporting event,” going on to state: “I don’t like all the things around it, anyway. I know, of course, in some places, they are part of it, but let’s say it’s not in my interest.”
This view was backed up by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who suggested: “I mean, we’re racing drivers, you know. Yeah, I think sometimes it kind of… goes too much in the whole Hollywood star side of things, you know. I just like racing cars, not trying to be a Hollywood star.”