Everyone had an opinion how the Las Vegas GP was going to turn out and the haters took home an early win after the controversial decision was taken to cancel the second practice session on Thursday due to a loose manhole cover that damaged Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari. But after a phenomenal race, it seems like crow is on the menu for many people.
Things weren’t initially helped by Max Verstappen who was very vocal about his dislike of the whole weekend, despite changing his tune after winning the race. And he had a point. Outside of the race, it was a typical U.S. style presentation; over-the-top and somewhat confusing for those involved. The teams and drivers are clearly not that comfortable with this style of presentation and promotion pre-race, but at the very least it gave us very memable moments like Sergio Perez asking where he has to go after being announced. Golden.
Cold Temperatures Impact Felt
The racing was golden too with plenty of overtakes and surprises despite fears that the cold temperatures would affect the quality of racing. It didn’t ruin the race, but it did have its impact particularly at the start. Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso lost traction into Turn 1, making their races that much harder. The driver who was worst affected was Lando Norris. His incident was confirmed to be caused by a combination of cold tyre temperatures and a bump in the road that McLaren recommend be “smoothed out.”
Norris wasn’t the only one caught out by the cold temperatures as Daniel Ricciardo explained that AlphaTauri “were operating on a different level of grip compared to the others.”
“I was getting overtaken on the outside of Turn 3 which, take my word for it, the outside of Turn 3 is really, really, really slippery,” Ricciardo said.
“So the fact they were getting me on the outside, I was like, ‘man, we are definitely operating in a different league.’”
An Imperfect Event with Plenty of Promise
Considering this is the first time the Grand Prix has been held in this format, it stands to reason that it wouldn’t be perfect. Yes, a manhole cover ruined Carlos Sainz’s race before he even started and the fairness of the decision to penalise him regardless of his level of responsibility is certainly up for debate, but like Toto Wolff said, no one cares if practice is cancelled once qualifying and the race roll around. And he was right.
That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement. The start times of each event was criticised considering it didn’t cater to the American audience but rather the Europeans. Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, believes this will have to be reviewed because the teams themselves have been completely drained by the Vegas GP.
“As a first event, of course, there are going to be many lessons to learn,” Horner said. “I think one of the things we look at is the running schedule because it’s been brutal for the team, and all the men and women behind the scenes. I think everybody is leaving Vegas slightly f***ed.
“We need to look at how we can improve that for the future. We’re running so late at night, so maybe we run at eight o’clock in the evening, or something like that, it would just be a bit more comfortable for all.”
So the verdict? It was a very fun race and Vegas lived up to its promise despite the Americanisms getting on people’s nerves. It certainly has done better than the other recent American addition, the Miami Grand Prix.