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Max Verstappen

Verstappen tears into Las Vegas organisation after practice shambles

The weekend got off to the worst possible start in Las Vegas, after Max Verstappen's "clowns" and 99% show comments - and the World Champion has doubled down on his dislike of the event.

Verstappen Las Vegas
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen is one of the most outspoken drivers in the history of Formula 1, maybe even the most, with his comments on the Las Vegas Grand Prix particularly strong, especially for the reigning World Champion.

He described the opening ceremony as making drivers look like "clowns" and also that the event was 99% for the show and just 1% sporting event. And that was even before the on-track shambles of FP1, and the embarrassment of FP2 when fans were evicted from grandstands at 01:30 local time as security and other staff had finished their shifts.

Verstappen has a history of simply speaking his mind on topics, with a dislike of Sprint weekends becoming even more evident after the recent run of the alternate format - of which he won two.

He described the track as boring - describing Monaco as something all tracks should aspire to.

"This is the Eredivisie, while Monaco is the Champions League," he told media including RacingNews365, referring to the Dutch top-flight football league and the European Cup, respectively.

"There's nothing wrong with the Eredivisie, by the way, but everyone wants to win the Champions League, right?

"How [the event is put together] and how it looks, there is nothing wrong with it, but [the Champions League] is top of course."

Promoter comments

Verstappen's comments about the event on Thursday earned him a gentle rebuke from CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Steve Hill.

"Max has been a little chippy, frankly, about the race here," Hill said.

"I don’t know if that’s because he’s just a little nervous or what but that will also bring a little edge to this [weekend]."

Verstappen was presented with those comments after qualifying third fastest for the race, but will start second once Carlos Sainz's grid penalty was exposed.

"What do I think of his comments? These people live in their own world, and that's no use to [us] at all," said Verstappen.

Verstappen: "I would tear down the whole place!"

As part of the Thursday night, Friday morning chaos, fans were left with only nine minutes of on-track action for the two practice sessions, with the promoter offering vouchers to the tune of $200 for use in the official shop, but no apology or refund.

This is something that also caught Verstappen's ire.

"Then they still make money! Great," he replied when presented with the proposal for the first time.

"If I was a fan, I would tear down the whole place. This can't be right.

"Listen, if you look at those manhole covers and how that's put together, you just have to know that it would naturally come up when an F1 car drives over it. You really don't have to have a high IQ to know that.

Also in Verstappen's crosshairs was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff who launched a passionate defence of the track when the drain cover problem first struck, with the Austrian insisting that it was just part and parcel of racing on a street track.

"Well, it shouldn't happen, but of course, it has happened a few times in recent years," he said.

"But if you know that at some point, you have to pay attention to it, and especially at a new event.

"You know, everybody is watching you, then you just naturally have to be on top of that.

"It's the same, if you were to say to us: 'You know, you do everything you can and then you turn into the wall. Oh well, it can happen'.

"No, of course it doesn't [just happen]. It just sucks. It shouldn't happen. But, you have to learn from that and you have to be able to take criticism."

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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