Lively Vegas race was perfect response to “negativity” from some – Hamilton

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Lewis Hamilton said the Las Vegas Grand Prix defied the doubters who questioned whether Formula 1’s newest event would be a success.

F1 spent huge sums adding a new race which incorporated the Las Vegas Strip. The event has been extensively hyped since it was announced early last year.

However, the weekend got off to a bad start when practice was disrupted when a broken water valve caused damage to two cars within 10 minutes of the first session beginning. Fans were then forbidden from watching the second session from the grandstands, causing further complaints.

The event ran more smoothly from then on and the race proved one of the more competitive seen this season as Charles Leclerc fought the Red Bull pair for victory. Hamilton also had an eventful but less successful race, passing several drivers but also being involved in two incidents on his way to seventh place.

Nonetheless Hamilton was pleased the race had gone well and said it had proved the event’s critics wrong. “The race was great,” he said. “It was one of the best races.

“So many people, all the media, everyone’s been so negative about this race and about the show and all that. Just let it be and see how it goes. Great race, this is like Baku but better.”

Prior to the race Hamilton expressed the view overtaking would be difficult. However passing appeared to be straightforward for drivers, potentially due to the extension of one DRS zone by 50 metres before final practice.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

One of the strongest critics of the race, Max Verstappen, said he was not impressed by the track and prefers driving at F1’s older venues like Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps. Hamilton said Vegas showed it deserves a place on the calendar.

Poll: Vote for your 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
“There’s been a lot of negativity about having three grands prix in the States and people talking about bringing back the old classic races from Europe,” he said. “And this has provided a better race than most of the tracks we go to.

“So I think really hats off to the people that run the show and I can’t wait to come back and hopefully have a better race here next year.”

“I think Vegas put on a great event,” he added. “Next year’s going to be even bit better. Now we’ve gone through it once there’ll be loads of learnings and really grateful for Vegas for having us.”

Verstappen, who won the race, said it had been fun but “I always expected it to be a good race today.”

“Like I said before, long straights, low speed corners, you don’t lose a lot of downforce – so that has never been my issue.

“But today was fun. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. I think today was fun, I hope everyone enjoyed it. I think the DRS effect was strong, but good. It made fun racing out there.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

37 comments on “Lively Vegas race was perfect response to “negativity” from some – Hamilton”

  1. It’s a terribly dull & uninspired track & the fact the race wasn’t that bad doesn’t change that.

    I mean that last race at the Valencia street circuit was great yet that didn’t make the track any better. Same with Sochi to an extent, The last race there was good yet the track was still awful.

    You can have good races on terrible tracks and poor races on great tracks so trying to justify this Liberty vanity project because the race wasn’t too bad doesn’t change the fact that the Las Vegas circuit is one of the worst on the current F1 calender.

    And i’m sorry but nothing they say to try & convince me it’s some incredible, amazing, spectacular circuit & event will change my mind on that. I’m not blind, I watched all the track action this weekend & simply cannot stand this boring vanity project circuit just as I cannot stand Miami or Jeddah either or Sochi & Valencia before them.

    1. It’s a great track with a lot of inspiration. I only wish the camera positioning was better for the longest straight, because we didn’t get to see it properly.

      1. In what way is it a great track?

        There’s absolutely nothing great or inspiring about it.

        And boringly long straights are not especially fun to watch cars on, Especially now that there are so many of them given how every new track has to have one now meaning that the novelty of seeing cars flat out for that long has long since worn off.

        Maybe a decade or more ago it would have stood out more & felt a bit more special/unique as back then it would have been the only one to be this fast with this length of straight. But now it just feels like the other modern street circuits so simply has nothing about it that really stands out all that much. It just feels like another street race thats held at night which features a boringly long straight thats a mile wide.

        1. How on Earth are long straights boring for you?! Especially when the long straights are streets with kinks and elevation insonsistencies?!? Super fast cars going over 300kph on such straights is the best thing to watch!
          Are you not excited by SPEED?
          The long straights of the Old Hockenheim, the Mulsanne straights of Le Mans, the long straights of Baku and Las Vegas – those are the best thing in racing!

          Are you more excited watching cars going through the long curves of Barcelona??

          1. This lad enjoys Kemmel Straight more than Eau Rouge, T3 and Raidillon, Hangar Straight over Maggotts and Becketts, the Austin long straight over T3-T9. I have to say I’m disappointed.

          2. Kemmel Straight general admission area is probably the best real estate for an F1 fan, lots of action and great view for a decent prices.

    2. IMHO, the race was good. Maybe my low expectations made it look even better but the end result should be more important than how “inspiring” the track looks.

      However, despite USA’s size, I too think 3 races in the same country is too much and I’d love to see Miami off the calendar so F1 can go back to Africa.

  2. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    19th November 2023, 13:41

    It’s the same for all tracks, but was especially bad at Las Vegas.
    Who cares which “celeb” is in the garage/in the grandstand. Why do they insist on showing that over and over rather than on track action. What tiny percentage of F1 fans watch the race to find out how bored Rihanna’s face looks mid race?

    1. I didn’t even know which celebrity she was until the name and profession appeared!

      1. I have been against the flow in a few comments today, but here I agree wholeheartedly. Sure, if you want to gush over the celebs in the pre-show, go ahead. But why the heck do I need to know what these guys look like during the race. Even if they were celebs I likes I can’t understand why you would want to look at them over the actual racing. If you have to show faces, then stick to the pit wall and crews.

        Perhaps they need a Sky F1 button for those that want to watch ‘F1 Celeb Cam’.

    2. Bored? Who knows what bored that woman, because F1 surely didn’t since she didn’t even see it with those sunglasses at night. And her they wouldn’t kick out before FP2…

    3. F1 has always showed celebrities in the garage, and I, and I’m sure many others do actually like it. 99.99% of the time it’s just for a few seconds when nothing is happening on track.

  3. I felt very negative Lewis, but I did say a few times that I would wait and see how it went.

    I am more than happy to admit my doubts were destroyed by an entertaining and twisty race that never seemed to have a dull moment all through the field.

    I shall expect the same next year though, or I will be Mr Grumpy Pants!

    1. With you on this @nullapax, ignored the rabid hype, watched the race, found it to be good.

      Sport happened.

  4. Didn’t watch it. My time zone didn’t allow it without ruining my sunday.

    But tradition doesn’t equal quality racing an quality events. Spa Francorchamps, which was guaranteed entertainment back in the day hasn’t had a decent race in years, same for Suzuka. Great tracks, but boring races with these modern cars.

    1. Spa hasn’t had a great race for 15 years – and that was only because of some late rain! We’d have to go back to 1998 to find a properly good race there.

      1. Spa had a compelling race in 2019, with Vettel doing his utmost to keep Hamilton behind in an effort to give Leclerc enough of a gap to take his first win – which he did. The races in 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 are all rated in the top 100 here at RaceFans, too (counting since 2008).

        The race in 2004 wasn’t so much good as it was chaotic, but it did give Räikkönen his second-only win in a season otherwise dominated by Schumacher. It was also noteworthy for the collapse of Renault, which looked to be the car to beat up to the race and which led 1-2 in the early stages.

        The race in 2002 was perhaps not overly exciting, but along with Vettel’s 2013 Singapore race it is one of those rare displays of near perfection. Schumacher made everyone look positively average that day (more so than he usually did).

      2. LOL!! Spa 98′, is my favourite of all time.

        It’s the race where F1 became of my favourite sports, as opposed to merely just having an interest

    2. I would say for Spa at least that DRS has ruined the races in recent years more than the modern cars. The Kemmel straight is a great natural overtaking spot, and yet year after year the organisers stubbornly insist on putting a normal DRS zone along it, which guarantees easy highway passes before the braking zone rather than a natural slipstream pass being possible on the brakes.

  5. I’m glad that we’ve been spared the worst of the negative ranting. It’s not an inspiring track but it does allow for decent racing. In terms of simple tracks that don’t challenge the driver too much, it seems comparable to the Bahrain short configuration.

  6. Great race, this is like Baku but better.

    And that’s what it is, right? I mean, to me there’s a lot of bandwidth between ‘Baku but better’ and places like Monaco, Interlagos, Monza or Silverstone.

    And I don’t mind that, they can’t all be winners, but the way F1 and the media tried to shove it down our throats as if the Las Vegas GP was the best thing since the invention of sliced bread, even before one wheel had turned, made the entire thing worse.

    The race was entertaining, the track works well for these cars.
    For all the slick images shown beforehand I thought the trackside camera shots were dull, I saw mostly fences, bridges with advertisements and truss supports for the lights. If it wasn’t for the helicopter shots and the huge sphere it could’ve been anywhere else.

    Overall this weekend brought out the best (bravery, skill, tricky track to set your car up for) and the worst (fp1, penalty, sending fans away for fp2, lame reimbursement, but also things like the shoey bar) of F1.

    1. Indeed, F1 was too keen to sell the race as an NBA All Star Game probably because they were expecting a boring race and due to some backlash I expect them to tune down their message next year.

      P.S.: Las Vegas and Miami should stop trying to be North America Monaco and focus on good racing and fan experience.

      1. Las Vegas and Miami should stop trying to be North America Monaco

        Exactly! In many cases the difference between American and European culture is in details. Important details, but not vastly different. And I know Las Vegas is good at pretending it’s a different city (with its fake Eiffel Tower), but there should be plenty of opportunities to give these races truely their own thing.

  7. They were fortunate that the uncertainty as to the drivability of the track and the safety cars provided a good race and overshadowed the events of Friday/Saturday.

    Does it deserve a place on the calendar? If the key criteria to getting on the calendar is spending lots of money then yes but at what cost to the regular F1 fans?

    Possibly unsurprisingly, this was the same approach Ecclestone pursued in courting rich countries, states and individuals whilst displaying open contempt for the regular F1 fans who he saw as bringing little or no more money into his purse.

    1. At what point can we accept that wealthier individuals can be “regular f1 fans” as well? This is not a new phenomenon. The sport has always been expensive to attend, and there has always been cosmopolitan component to some of the crowd. Why should events not be profitable as well as entertaining? This was both.

  8. The track is boring, and as a result I did not enjoy watching qualifying all that much. Didn’t look like the drivers had to put in all that much effort to wring the neck out of their cars. The race was indeed enjoyable, but I don’t think the track contributed as much as the penalty for Verstappen did, the inherent lack of pace Red Bull has on bumpy tracks this year did, and the well timed safety car intervention did.

    What I did not enjoy was the constant hyping around it. I did not enjoy the celebrity worship during the pre-show on F1TV (I can do without cutaway shots during the race of celebs and crowd alike, but understand why F1 does them). The Netflix Cup was complete nonsense and very boring. And the post-race ceremony that took forever just to drive the drivers to the Bellagio for the interview and then again back to the podium was just all kinds of stupid.

    All in all I am glad the race was enjoyable (though this season has people hungry for some racing for the lead, so I would say in most other seasons this was a 7/10 race), but I fear that there’s gonna be quite a few middling ones on this track over the coming years, too.

  9. They can make the track more interesting by offering different layouts every year, I think that would be pretty cool myself, the long straights only make me wish they were just on an oval, i mean its cool there were a lot of safety cars that kept the racing close at the end, but without the safety cars and the oil at the start-finish … really, the race would have been over after a few laps after the faster cars passed the slower ones, not even Williams could hold the faster cars back.

  10. The race proved the detractors wrong, some stubborn clinching to their ‘bad track’ opinion, others singing ‘Viva Las Vegas’.

    Apart from the vavle cover destroying Sainz car, it was a close to perfect weekend, with great pictures and a great race.

    Luckily the smarter part of the grid understands to support F1 marketing, which needs more show for US fans.

  11. “It was pure driving. Pure racing. There wasn’t any politics. No money involved either, so it was real racing.” Ayrton Senna.

    “I’ve said many times in the past that my career’s not going to go on much longer; I’m not going to keep going and riding until I’m in my 30s and things like this.” Casey Stoner

    “”(It’s) 99 percent show, and one percent sporting event….I just like to always focus on the performance side of things. 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.” Max Verstappen

  12. Amen…the drivers, and the cars are the stars and the reason I’m watching. If I wanted to see the so-called celebrities, then I would be watching their products instead of F1. I watch F1 because I want to see the cars, drivers, teams and the racing. I don’t care about these other people that they insist on interviewing and trying to interject into the sport. I get it the celebrities draw eyes, and the eyes draw attention, and the attention draws money. Please leave it with the pre-race show stuff and don’t cut away during the race to show me so and so in the paddock. Exceptions for the retired drivers and team principles.

  13. My expectations were extremely low but I did enjoy the race. So there

  14. It was just beginners luck, beginners luck no one got hurt but the manhole, beginners luck someone accidentally spilled oil in the first corner, beginners luck that the stewards were sleeping again and George forgot to use his mirrors. I bet next year we will see the true face of this appalling track. Although you never know in Vegas, maybe it will be lucky again.

  15. Lewis is simply begging for his American citizenship. Ill never forget his press interview during 2020 where he came out & admitted he never spoke out on such issues re equality/racism etc before cause he was told it would harm his visa/sponsors etc. Fast forward he rarely ever speaks out on the constant issues in USA in fear of backlash cause it’s suddenly deemed political & divisive….funny how he somehow has greater freedom of speech in middle east where he is outwardly vocal on every race with 0 backlash from locals lol. Doesn’t even do much in Hungrary anymore cause backlash from politicians was huge. I’d respect him more if he didn’t suck up & try so hard to be a yank

    1. Where in his job description is he responsible for being a UN ambassador?

      Keep your obvious issues to yourself or at least relate to the actual race!

      Equally what on earth does it matter to you if he likes America?

  16. man drank the koolaid

  17. Good Lord the ever present corpo PR talk from Lewis strikes again. Verstappen was mainly vocal against racing in yet another souless and uninteresting street circuit, to a crowd of non F1 fans, while doing publicity stunts and looking like a clown. The fact the race was good didn’t have anything to do with Max’s original criticism.

  18. Embarrassing for all the early naysayers, the race was great. Great overtaking action, fantastic speeds, amazing crowd for the race. Verstappen was slagging the weekend at every possible opportunity, so it was ridiculous to hear him singing “viva Las Vegas” after winning the race.
    Kudos to those – like Lewis – who counselled patience and giving the race the benefit of the doubt, rather than rushing to condemn it and declare it was show and not sport.

Comments are closed.