F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

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F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

The F1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas took place this weekend as the pinnacle of motor racing converged with the Entertainment Capital of the World. The Las Vegas Grand Prix promises an extraordinary spectacle, as track action kicked off early Friday morning. Highly anticipated to be the biggest event in the history of the sport, Las Vegas served as hosts to F1 racing on a new street circuit layout. It was regarded as one of the most significant sporting events of 2023.

F1 Las Vegas Circuit

F1 Las Vegas Circuit

Verstappen Triumphs in Vegas

Max Verstappen’s initial disdain for the Las Vegas Grand Prix’s glitzy excesses transformed into pure elation as he clinched victory in what turned out to be one of the most fiercely contested races of the season. The three-time reigning Formula One world champion, who had criticized the event’s emphasis on spectacle over racing, had a change of heart after securing his 18th win of the season.

Crossing the finish line in an Elvis-inspired firesuit to the tune of “Viva Las Vegas,” Verstappen celebrated his triumph under the checkered flag waved by none other than Justin Bieber. The spectacle continued as the top drivers were chauffeured to a stage near the Bellagio, where, instead of heading straight to the nightclub as Verstappen suggested, they were treated to the iconic fountain show.

Verstappen F1 Las Vegas

Max Verstappen takes 1st place in the exciting Vegas race

Despite the initial skepticism surrounding the event’s opulence and celebrity focus, the victory celebration at the Bellagio fountains proved to be a memorable affair. A-listers like Brad Pitt, Rihanna, Usain Bolt, and Shaquille O’Neal graced the occasion, contributing to the estimated 315,000 spectators over the weekend and a staggering $1.2 billion economic impact on Las Vegas.

While the Las Vegas Grand Prix faced criticism for its extravagant ticket prices, inflated hotel rates along the Strip, and its diversion from the traditional sporting emphasis, the race itself delivered on the track. Verstappen’s sixth consecutive victory, despite a penalty and a spirited battle with Charles Leclerc, showcased the raciness of the 3.85-mile circuit that had faced scrutiny earlier in the week.

Notably, the event faced challenges, including a near-implosion during the first practice session when Carlos Sainz Jr. damaged his Ferrari, leading to a temporary closure of the circuit. Fan dissatisfaction peaked when the second practice session ran until 4 a.m. with only $200 merchandise store credits offered as compensation. A class-action lawsuit was subsequently filed against the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

However, the on-track excitement on Saturday night helped salvage the event’s reputation. Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time F1 champion, praised the circuit, describing it as providing a better race than most tracks. Despite Leclerc and Sainz’s initial 1-2 qualifying position, Verstappen’s strategic moves secured his victory, with Perez ultimately denying Red Bull a seventh 1-2 finish of the season.

Raceday at the Vegas Grand Prix

Raceday at the Vegas Grand Prix

With the season finale in Abu Dhabi looming, Verstappen’s triumph solidified his standing, and Perez secured second place in the season driver standings. Ferrari’s strong showing helped them cut the deficit to Mercedes in the constructor championship to just four points. Meanwhile, Lando Norris of McLaren, involved in an early accident, was released from the hospital after precautionary checks. The Las Vegas Grand Prix, despite its controversies, concluded with a thrilling race that exceeded expectations and added a new chapter to F1 history.

See the full action on the official F1 website

The Las Vegas Strip Circuit

The 1.4-mile Las Vegas Boulevard, famously known as the Strip, served as the epicenter of F1 during the three-day race weekend. With iconic landmarks such as the Venetian, Caesars Palace, and the Bellagio as a backdrop, the circuit features 17 corners, reaching speeds over 212 mph. The Strip Circuit weaves through the heart of Vegas, providing a visually stunning race experience.

F1 Circuit Map

F1 Las Vegas Circuit Map

The circuit extends beyond existing roads, starting from a newly developed area to the east of the Strip. Costing $240 million, the redeveloped space includes a vast pit building, garages, team areas, and the luxurious Paddock Club. A massive 28,000 sqft video screen on the pit building’s roof showcases the F1 logo.

In a break from tradition, the race took place late at night under a specially erected floodlighting system, starting at 10 pm local time on the west coast. This unique Saturday night Grand Prix caters to local audiences while challenging drivers with cooler temperatures.

Late-night presented challenges, especially concerning tire warm-up. Pirelli responded by bringing its softest tire compounds to the event, ensuring faster warm-up. The late-night race posed a new challenge for drivers, reminiscent of the coldest-ever F1 race in 1978.

Las Vegas Grand Prix and Sports Travel

The event is not just a sporting spectacle; it’s a significant economic boon for Las Vegas, with a forecasted $1.2 billion in economic value. For F1 and its US owners, this marks the realization of a long-term ambition, further solidifying the sport’s popularity in the American market.

F1 Las Vegas Circuit

While not the first F1 event in Las Vegas, this race distinguishes itself from the 1981-1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix. The organizers promise a hospitality and entertainment experience unparalleled in the sport’s history, featuring a star-studded opening ceremony and performances by renowned artists.

Las Vegas is taking fan engagement to new heights with various zones and hospitality options. From the T-Mobile Zone at the Sphere with nightly stage performances to Premium Clubs offering exclusive access, the race weekend promises a unique and unforgettable experience for fans.

For those seeking a premium race weekend experience, a range of hospitality packages is available. From Skybox hospitality at the East Harmon Zone to the luxurious Bellagio Fountain Club and the elite Paddock Club, each package offers a distinct experience, complete with all-inclusive amenities and exclusive views, catering to diverse preferences and budgets.

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