Max Verstappen has said he enjoyed Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas despite the Red Bull driver levelling scathing criticism of the race throughout the build up to the showpiece in the Strip.
Verstappen secured his 18th win of the 2023 season at the Las Vegas GP, recovering from a penalty for his overtake on Charles Leclerc into Turn 1 and damage from a later collision with the Mercedes of George Russell to beat the Ferrari to the line.
After a disaster first day in Sin City when the first practice session lasted only eight minutes before being called off due to issues with drain cover on the street circuit and fans being kicked out for the delayed FP2, Verstappen had said he wasn’t a fan of the race.
The Dutchman was scathing in his criticism, saying that the event was “99% about the show, and 1% about the racing,” but after securing victory at F1’s new flagship event in the US, he said he had enjoyed his time racing on track.
“Well, I always expected it to be a good race today,” Verstappen told media after the session. “It’s just like I said before long straights low speed corners. You don’t lose a lot of downforce. So that has never been you know my issue.
“But yeah, today was fun. That’s the only thing I want to say about I think today was fun. I hope everyone enjoyed it. I think The DRS was strong but good. I mean, it made fun racing out there.”
And the champion admitted that he needed to work on his singing skills, after an impromptu version of Elvis’ classic ‘Viva Las Vegas’ on the radio after the chequered flag.
“Christian [Horner] put me on the spot so I cannot leave him hanging,” Verstappen joked.
“So I have to I have to sing but I definitely need some lessons. So I need to go to Jerry and book an appointment I guess.”
Changes needed for 2024
A number of drivers and team bosses, while praising the inaugural event in Las Vegas, have called for some changes ahead of the 2024 event, with low track temperatures due to the date and late running time an issue, as well as the travel to the final race at the Abu Dhabi GP.
“Yeah, maybe the timing,” Verstappen said. “Yeah, for sure. But I think the other thing for sure for next year, maybe make it a bit better travelling also to Abu Dhabi.
“At the moment, it’s such a big time shift, especially in the end of the season, when everyone is already a bit tired
“I think is a little bit much, so maybe it would be ideal to find a different kind of dates, because I find that maybe we need to do more of like an American tour.
“I know, maybe for ticket sales. I don’t know if that’s ideal. So maybe we can find a bit of a solution there. I think the 12 hour time zone shifts with completely different timings for racing, is a bit much.”