Lewis Hamilton previews Las Vegas Grand Prix
The Las Vegas Grand Prix is upon us as the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen take in all the atmosphere in the American desert ahead of one of the most highly-anticipated races of the season. The drivers have already attended an eventful launch party overnight as they look forward to Sunday’s race.
Red Bull star Verstappen has made his thoughts perfectly clear after each driver was paraded into the preview party, insisting that this controversial weekend is “99 per cent show, one per cent sporting event”.
Upon each driver’s arrival to the paddock, a welcome sign was changed to their name while they were joined by a group of Elvis Presley and Blue Man Group impersonators.
Ahead of the race, Hamilton will be looking to gain ground on Sergio Perez in the battle for second place as he sits just 32 points behind Verstappen’s team-mate.
For all the latest news and updates ahead of the Las Vegas GP follow below…
Hamilton sent title warning
Lewis Hamilton has been warned that an eighth world championship could elude him, as the Brit may end his career tied with Michael Schumacher for titles.
Hamilton has struggled to compete with Max Verstappen over the past two years and former McLaren driver Mark Blundell doubts whether he can claim another title.
”You’re only as good as the car you drive. It’s no different to horse racing – you’ll lose riding an old nag even if you’re the best jockey in the world,” he told OLBG.
“We’re seeing that now – Lewis can’t make the difference despite how good he is. I think it will be difficult for Hamilton to get that next title, and I think it may well elude him.
“Perhaps I’m wrong and Mercedes turns it around and they become the leaders of the pack! I’d put a good wager on that happening.”
Norris jokes with Alonso
Lando Norris took a jab at Fernando Alonso as the Aston Martin driver opened up on his struggles with jet lag.
Following the five-hour time difference between Las Vegas and Sao Paulo, Alonso admitted that jet lag had been an issue before Norris was asked if he had also suffered.
“I think it’s always been in F1. Of course, it’s a big shift and stuff like that. But I’m alright. I’m still young, thankfully,” he said.
“I’m a bit older now but compared to this guy right here [Fernando]… Maybe he struggles a little bit more than I do with not getting eight hours in. But yeah, we all have to do the same things.”
Russell confident of Mercedes bounce back
George Russell has stated his confidence that Mercedes can put their Brazilian GP struggles behind them in Las Vegas.
The Silver Arrows had one of their worst weekends of the season in Sao Paulo but Russell is confident of an improved performance in America.
“We definitely have some answers, and we’ve got a number of things that we can put down to our poor performance,” Russell said.
“But this is the nature of a Sprint race weekend. If you get it right, you’re on a good course and you’re in for a successful weekend, but if you get it wrong, you’ve got no opportunity to make amends.
“We were kind of trapped within our mistake, so that was a gruelling weekend. It shows how sensitive everything is, but we’re confident we’re not going to fall into that same trap, especially this weekend.”
Verstappen offers Las Vegas GP advice
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has given his advice on how the Las Vegas GP can be “more fun”.
The Dutchman has been critical of the track this weekend and the spectacle surrounding it, but offered his thoughts on how it can be improved.
“Yeah, not very interesting,” he said. “It’s just not many corners, to be honest. I don’t know. I mean, it also will depend probably a bit on how grippy it is. Doesn’t look like it has a lot of grip but yeah, we’ll go with the flow.
“I don’t think it’s that exciting, that’s the only thing. But naturally already for me, a street circuit is not very exciting, especially with these new cars. They’re just too heavy. And especially also when you have low grip, that doesn’t help.
“Of course, it will be great driving through the Strip, but then the layout itself is not the most exciting, I think. An F1 car is a lot more fun with a lot of high-speed corners.”
Ted Kravitz speechless
Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz had no idea how to react when stopped by members of the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas.
Kravitz had been reporting on the upcoming weekend when he was stared down by one group member who took a photo with the F1 personality.
Kravitz continued his discussion before being stopped again and handed a device which awkwardly played music, which he admitted was “not planned”.
Hamilton disagrees with Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton has taken a different approach to Max Verstappen and praised Formula 1’s chiefs for their approach to the Las Vegas GP.
Verstappen has slated the spectacle as he believes that the racing is viewed as second-fiddle, but Hamilton admits that he understands the vision.
“I hear there are a lot of people complaining about the direction that Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO] and Liberty has gone. But they are doing an amazing job,” Hamilton said.
“The sport continues to grow. It is a business and you will still see good racing here. It is a country to tap into and really captivate the audience.
“We needed to have at least two races in the US, one wasn’t enough, and this is one of the most iconic and unique cities that they have here.”
Verstappen won’t help Perez
Red Bull chief Christian Horner has explained that there is a very unlikely possibility of Max Verstappen helping his team-mate Sergio Perez this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton needs to beat Perez by seven points this weekend to stand a chance of pipping him to second place in the Drivers’ Championship, but Verstappen will not be considering that.
“Somewhere between zero and one, I would say,” Horner told Sky Sports when asked if Verstappen could lend Perez a helping hand.
“Checo, I don’t think he’s going to need that help, Max is focused on his thing. He doesn’t want to leave anything on the table. He’s focused on an incredible year that he’s been having, and he just wants to keep winning. Checo shouldn’t need that help from Max.”
Hamilton’s telling Vegas comment
Lewis Hamilton has insisted that the Las Vegas Grand Prix will never be “like Silverstone” as he gears up to race in Nevada.
There will be plenty of glitz and glamour across the weekend but Hamilton has claimed that it will never have the prestige of events such as the British GP.
“It is a big show for sure,” Hamilton said. “And it’s never going to be like Silverstone, but maybe over time the people in this community, the community here will grow to love the sport just as we’ve had the privilege of growing up and experiencing.
“Maybe the track will be good, maybe it’ll be bad. It was so-so on the sim, it’s definitely not Silverstone but I think don’t knock it until you try it.”
Inside F1’s Vegas party
Last night’s opening ceremony certainly caught the eye after Formula 1 descended onto Las Vegas for the first time in 40 years.
Drivers were welcomed by being placed on ‘Hunger Games-style’ platforms and paraded around, while magician Piff the Magic Dragon was also in attendance.
Though not all of the drivers enjoyed the grand event, as Max Verstappen has been one to hit out ahead of Sunday’s race.
Norris discusses next Verstappen team-mate
McLaren star Lando Norris has snubbed Sergio Perez when asked who could be the next driver to race alongside Max Verstappen for Red Bull.
Perez’s future remains up in the air and Norris has thrown his own name into the ring when asked about potential replacements.
“I would like to be one at some point,” Norris said when asked about those talked up as candidates. “Who else could it be? It would be nice if it was Lewis [Hamilton], it would be amazing to see him.
“Or Fernando [Alonso], or Carlos [Sainz], or Charles [Leclerc], or [George] Russell? They’re all great drivers who you know would make it tougher for him. There have always been rumours with me and other drivers.”
Wolff on Hamilton future
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has been discussing Lewis Hamilton’s future at the Silver Arrows.
The Brit penned a new two-year extension this season to take him up until the end of 2025, after speculation he would be prepared to leave the team.
But Wolff believes that Hamilton has plenty left in the tank.
“He is 39 in January, and Fernando (Alonso – 42) is still going strong,” Wolff said when asked about the possibility of Hamilton racing past his current contract.
“As long as you look after yourself, you do the best preparation, physically and mentally, and develop different areas to when you are 25, then yes.
“We just need to give him a car that is quick enough. And, as a driver, I have no doubt about him. You have seen in the last races that his performance, speed and race craft are all there. But, if he doesn’t have the car underneath him, he cannot win.”
Verstappen fumes at Las Vegas GP
Max Verstappen was not afraid to hold back when asked for his thoughts on the Las Vegas Grand Prix launch party.
The Red Bull star admitted that he felt “like a clown” during the opening ceremony and would prefer instead to focus on the racing.
“99 per cent show and one per cent sporting event,” Verstappen said. “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.
“[The track] is not very interesting], and I just want to do the best I can – there is no problem – but it’s not really my thing.
“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. I grew up just looking at the performance side of things, and that is how I see it as well. I like to be in Vegas – but not so much for the racing.”
Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage and build-up towards this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, where we will be bringing you all the latest news and updates.
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