Las Vegas GP is 99% show and 1% sport… the $500million Hollywood show has made me look a clown, slams Verstappen

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MAX VERSTAPPEN has slammed the Las Vegas Grand Prix – saying it is “99 percent show and one percent sporting event”.

The F1 world champion added that F1’s pre-race razzmatazz left him looking “like a clown”.

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Max Verstappen said the pre-race Las Vegas antics left him feeling “like a clown”Credit: Getty
He and team-mate Sergio Perez were presented to the Las Vegas crowd

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He and team-mate Sergio Perez were presented to the Las Vegas crowdCredit: Getty
F1 stars were treated to a lavish F1 ceremony on the Vegas strip

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F1 stars were treated to a lavish F1 ceremony on the Vegas stripCredit: Getty
Stars such as Daniel Ricciardo could rub shoulders with Elvis impersonators

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Stars such as Daniel Ricciardo could rub shoulders with Elvis impersonatorsCredit: Splash

The Red Bull ace along with several other drivers criticised the inaugural race – saying the gruelling schedule and the night-time timings have left them shattered.

When quizzed about the race, which has cost F1 owners Liberty Media over $500million to put on, Verstappen said: “It is 99 percent show and one percent sporting event.

“I just want to always focus on the performance side of things, I don’t like all the things around it anyway, I know in some places they are part of it but let’s say it’s not in my interest.

“[The track is] not very interesting. Just not many corners, to be honest. It will also depend quite a bit on how grippy it is. This is not really my thing.”

F1 have been busting a gut to promote their showpiece with a special launch event with a number of singers performing including Kylie Minogue and John Legend.

The drivers were all thrust up upon the stage too before sheepishly waving to half-empty grandstands.

Verstappen added: “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.”

This race comes off the back of a triple header across three continents – and put as a back-to-back race with Abu Dhabi, some 26 hours of flying away – has played havoc with jet-lag.

Kylie Minogue played at the opening ceremony

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Kylie Minogue played at the opening ceremonyCredit: EPA
As well as John Legend

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As well as John LegendCredit: EPA
Jared Leto also performed

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Jared Leto also performedCredit: EPA

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Last night, media sessions were cancelled as F1 requested that drivers attend a party at the Wynn hotel in yet another requirement for drivers.

However, Red Bull’s drivers pushed back, as too did Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll from Aston Martin.

Verstappen said: “When you are here it is not so much of a problem, but then we have to fly to Abu Dhabi, where there is already a 12 hour time difference, but also a completely different time zone…

“Basically, we live on a Japanese time schedule. But then almost a different day. I don’t really get that, it is very tiring also at the end of the season that we have to do this. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense.”

Stroll was also quizzed about whether he enjoyed the opening ceremony.

He said: “Not really, no, not my thing, not really my thing. I didn’t sign up for that part of it all.

“We’re racing drivers, I think sometimes it goes too much in the whole Hollywood  side of things.

“I just like racing cars, not trying to be a Hollywood star.”

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton has defended the race saying that he is not suffering any of the effects of jet-lag and he understands why Liberty Media are going to such lengths to host the Las Vegas race.

He said: “The sport continues to grow. It is a business ultimately. You’ll still see good racing here.

“It is just such a big country here and to really tap into the market and capture the audience we needed.

“One race [in the US] wasn’t enough, this is one of the most iconic cities there is and all the lights, the show, it is a big show for sure.

“It is never going to be like Silverstone but maybe over time the people in the community here will grow to love the sport.

“Maybe the track will be good, maybe it will be bad. Don’t knock it until you try it. I hear there are a lot of people complaining about the direction F1 have been going and I think they have been doing an amazing job.”

Lewis Hamilton defended the need to put on a spectacle

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Lewis Hamilton defended the need to put on a spectacleCredit: Getty
Hamilton and George Russell were also presented to American racing fans

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Hamilton and George Russell were also presented to American racing fansCredit: EPA





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