Leclerc was “hurting” over F1’s poor start in Vegas before “awesome race”

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc was relieved Formula 1 produced an eventful race in Las Vegas following the poor start to its new event.

His team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr was one of two drivers whose cars were badly damaged when they struck a raised water valve cover on the track within the first 10 minutes of first practice starting on Thursday. That session was abandoned.

The second practice session was delayed by over two-and-a-half hours. On top of that, spectators were ordered to leave grandstands before it began, and some are now bringing a lawsuit against the promoter.

F1 faced questions over the wisdom of its decision to spend almost half a billion dollars setting up the new race. Some expressed doubts over the length it went to present itself as entertainment rather than sport.

But after several processional event in a season which has been dominant by Max Verstappen, Sunday’s race proved more open than expected. Although Verstappen won again, Leclerc was a genuine threat and led much of the grand prix.

Despite missing out on victory, Leclerc was relieved F1’s first Las Vegas Grand Prix did not disappoint. “I really enjoyed it,” said the Ferrari driver. “And I am especially happy to see that we finished this weekend on a high note because it was hurting me to see the sport that I love so much starting from the wrong foot on Thursday.

“But the fact that we had an amazing race, I think makes it all up, and I’m happy with that.”

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Several drivers expressed fears the lack of grip at the track would make overtaking difficult in the race, but that turned out not to be the case for many of them. “I loved the racing,” said Leclerc.

“I did not expect to have that much fun in the race, because in FP2 I was following George [Russell] and I really struggled to overtake him. Then we went down on the downforce, and today was much better.

“I had a lot more fun. It was a really exciting race and I’m pretty sure it was a really good one to watch. So I’ll make sure I watch that race back.”

Leclerc is from Monaco, which has held its famous F1 race for decades, and hopes the people of Las Vegas embrace their race the way his city has.

“It’s obviously very new for Vegas and for the people in Vegas. So I can understand that it’s difficult to accept first, but I really hope that they saw the benefits of having so many people coming to the event.

“I think also that the biggest part of building, the new building is done and also it will only get better from now onwards because people will get up to speed to understand what has to be done and for saving a bit of time. It’s been a great first event and I can’t wait to be back here next year.”

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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...

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1 comments on “Leclerc was “hurting” over F1’s poor start in Vegas before “awesome race””

  1. Yeah, it was a bit of a pleasant surprise to not see Max just driving off into the distance. Good fight from Charles to get back to 2nd in the end.

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