Las Vegas, known for its dazzling lights and entertainment extravaganzas, is set to host its first Grand Prix since 1982. However, not everyone is enamored with the glitz and glamour of the event. Max Verstappen, the three-time world champion, has made it clear that he is not a fan of the hype surrounding the upcoming race.
Verstappen has not only declined a pre-show party invite but has also doubled down on his dislike of the venue. In a recent media interaction, he expressed his views on the spectacle, stating, “99% show and 1% sporting event.” Despite the pre-match ceremony featuring star-studded performances by Kylie Minogue and Journey, Verstappen remains unimpressed with what he perceives as excessive showmanship.
“I don’t have a lot of emotions to be honest. I just want to focus on the performance side of things. I don’t like all the things that are around; I know they are part of it, but it is not in my interest,” Verstappen stated. He described the track as uninteresting and emphasized his preference for concentrating on the racing aspect rather than the surrounding extravagance.
“If I like it or not, it is not up to me, but I am not going to fake it. I just voiced my opinion on positive and negative things, and that is just how I am. Some people like the show a bit more; I don’t like it at all,” he added.
Verstappen, who has already secured the Drivers’ Championship, was among several drivers who rejected a firm request from F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to attend a pre-race party at the Wynn Hotel. According to Verstappen, the demands on drivers’ time in Las Vegas are excessive, and he argues that they are being made to look like ‘clowns.’
“For me, you can skip all these kinds of things. It’s just standing up there, [and you] look like a clown,” Verstappen remarked.
In contrast to Verstappen’s discontent, Lewis Hamilton sees the Las Vegas extravaganza in a different light. Hamilton expressed his excitement about being in the iconic city, describing it as amazing with great energy and buzz. While acknowledging that the event is a big show, Hamilton recognizes that it may not compare to historical circuits like Silverstone in terms of history and purity.
“It is never going to be like Silverstone. But maybe over time, the people in the community here will grow to love the sport,” Hamilton remarked optimistically. The differing perspectives of Verstappen and Hamilton highlight the varied opinions within the F1 community regarding the balance between showmanship and the essence of competitive racing.