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Verstappen: Las Vegas F1 race "more for the show than the racing itself"

Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen says the addition of the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix is "more for the show than the racing itself".

Work in Progress at the Las Vegas F1 course

Work in Progress at the Las Vegas F1 course

Jim Utter

F1 has gone to great lengths to revive the Las Vegas race, acquiring permission to race on the gambling haven's iconic Strip and taking on the promotion of the race itself, which takes place on 18 November.

It has spent $240 million on a plot of land, where it has erected a permanent pit and race control building and paddock facilities, which is unprecedented.

But the actual street circuit itself is limited to Las Vegas' densely built grid system and is made up of a collection of long straights connected by hairpins, slow 90-degree corners and chicanes, with the only high-speed corners expected to be easily taken flat-out.

PLUS: Why F1’s Vegas gamble is set to defy its critics

The 6.201km (3.853 mile) loop has so far failed to inspire three-time world champion Verstappen. When asked what he's expecting from the race, he replied: "First of all, I think we are there more for the show than the racing itself if you look at the layout of the track.

"But you know, I'm actually not that into it. I'm more like, I'll go there and do my thing and be gone again."

When asked if the racing would be similar to F1's Monaco Grand Prix, he said: "Yes, but Monaco is also just history and the place itself. Everyone wants to have been to Monaco once. You can't really compare."

Work in Progress at the Las Vegas F1 course

Photo by: Jim Utter

Work in Progress at the Las Vegas F1 course

Verstappen did concede the addition of a Las Vegas race provides added value for the series as it aims to expands its footprint in North America and capitalise on the success of the Netflix series Drive to Survive.

"It depends on which level," he added. "In terms of racing spectacle, maybe not. But in terms of potential partners, for the whole thing around it maybe. But of course, that's something I'm not very much into..."

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Williams driver Alex Albon thought that while the layout looked "simple" it could actually promote overtaking thanks to the long flat-out blast along the Strip.

"It's quite a simple circuit in terms of its layout, it's quite easy to learn. The track is quite interesting, there's quite a few combined corners, which are not easy for front locking, which is not great for our car, but that's fine," he said.

"The one thing which will be interesting is the roughness and the bumps of the track, how well of a job have they done on that.

"I think in terms of racing, there's going to be a lot of overtakes, because at least from what I drove, there's a lot of opportunities, a lot of places you can overtake. The straights are absolutely massive.

"Especially coming out of the last corner into Turn 1, it's a corner that's not that hard to say close [to the car in front]. So, I think you'll get quite a lot of overtaking."

Additional reporting Erwin Jaeggi and Adam Cooper

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