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Verstappen: Las Vegas is National League, Monaco is Champions League

Max Verstappen will start the 2023 Las Vegas GP second for Red Bull behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc

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Max Verstappen‘s relentless criticism of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix continued after qualifying, as he branded The Strip Circuit ‘National League’ compared to Monaco as F1‘s Champions League.

Verstappen qualified third behind the Ferraris but will start the race on the front row, and remains the favourite to take his 18th victory of the 2023 F1 season in Las Vegas.

National League is the fifth and sixth tier of English football, averaging a few-thousand fans per game and far far away from the bright lights of the Premier League, Champions League or Monaco GP.

“I think Monaco is like Champions League, this is National League,” Verstappen told the media. “I think this is a little bit more like Baku, but in the race it will depend a lot on who can keep the tyres alive or whoever grains their tyres more.

“So we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow. That’s the beautiful thing – there’s no sprint race to find out.”

Verstappen: Strip Circuit was fun

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing ahead of 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen‘s come much more out of his shell in 2023, repeatedly hitting out at F1‘s expansion of sprint races, with the Las Vegas GP another major financial priority for the sport.

He’s not the only dissenting voice against race though, with many criticising F1 for putting ‘the show’ ahead of the sporting event.

Nowhere was that more starkly shown than Sainz‘s Ferrari being damaged by a loose manhole cover, after the F1 safety inspection was reportedly under time pressure due to the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

“I’m not a big fan of street circuits, I prefer the higher speed tracks to really go on the limit of an F1 car,” Verstappen added. “When you’re pushing on the limit, I think everything feels always quite exciting. So I think today wasn’t too bad, but it’s very low grip.

“I feel like it’s a bit like Baku, and it has nothing to do with our car being awful or whatever, but I just don’t really enjoy that you can’t push to a certain limit, you’re always just limited with this sliding.

“But that’s my personal feeling, right? Everyone has their own preferences. I do think that it looks amazing. I mean, what they have built in such a short time space looks pretty incredible.

“And also the track itself, after the little issues. For Carlos it was a big one but after that I think they solved it quite well and we got on with it. So I guess that’s that’s positive.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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