Lewis Hamilton heaped praise on the 2023 Las Vegas GP, slamming the negativity around the event and calling it one of the best races of the Formula 1 season as Max Verstappen claimed a hard-fought victory ahead of Charles Leclerc.
The weekend got off to the worst possible start ahead as Carlos Sainz‘s Ferrari was damaged just nine minutes into FP1 due to a loose drain cover, meaning FP2 was delayed by two-and-a-half hours and fans were turfed out of the stands.
Sainz also had to take an undeserved grid penalty, but the race itself was a thriller and one of the more entertaining Verstappen victories in 2023 as the Dutchman scored his 18th win.
“The race was great, it was one of the best races,” Hamilton told the press. “I haven’t seen any entertainment so I don’t really know of that side of things, but there’s just been a lot of negativity about the three races in the States and wanting to bring back old classic races from Europe.”
Hamilton mystified by puncture
Hamilton finished seventh in Las Vegas, edging ahead of his teammate at the death thanks to a five-second penalty for George Russell‘s collision with Max Verstappen.
Hamilton had a quiet race after being caught up in the Turn 1 chaos and barely featured in the TV coverage, aside from suffering a puncture when he touched tyres with Oscar Piastri.
Hamilton had predicted he’d be at risk as soon as he qualified in the mid-pack, and both Sainz and Fernando Alonso spun at the first corner which hindered the Brit.
However, he seemed very unlucky to pick up fatal tyre damage for what was a light kiss with Piastri‘s front-left, and Mercedes‘ paltry points haul combined with Ferrari‘s strong performance means they’re separated by just four championship points.
“I have no idea what it was but I’m grateful to get a couple of points at least,” Hamilton added. “But this has provided a better race than most of the tracks we go to.
“So hats off and can’t wait to come back. Everyone has been so negative about this race and about the show and all that, just let it be and just see how it goes.”