Hamilton tells Las Vegas critics to stop complaining as he counters Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton has told critics of the Las Vegas Grand Prix - including former F1 title rival Max Verstappen - to give the race a chance. 
(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 - Opening Ceremony. Formula 1
(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and George Russell (GBR)…

Red Bull’s Verstappen labelled this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix as “99 percent show and 1 percent sporting event” in a scathing rant about the razzmatazz in the build up to the race. 

The triple world champion said that he felt like “a clown” during a glitzy opening ceremony on Wednesday night.

Verstappen, who also skipped a VIP event that F1 boss Stefano Domenicali had asked all the drivers to attend, was not the only one to complain about the show element. 

Speaking in the FIA press conference, Hamilton insisted that the event should be given the benefit of the doubt before being judged. 

"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,” the seven-time world champion 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.

"It is a big show for sure, and it is never going to be like Silverstone, but maybe over time, the people in this community will grow to love the sport.

"Maybe the track will be good, and maybe it will be bad. It was so-so on the simulator. But don't knock it until you try it.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22,…

Hamilton continued: "From a racer's perspective, you want to have the best show here.

"If the track provides a race like Baku - which is one of the best races with lots of overtaking - than that would be amazing, rather than just one car disappearing into the distance.

"Everybody I know in Hollywood is coming and there will be a lot of business going on this weekend.

"It will be a good spectacle to watch, even for those back home who have never been to Vegas. They will get to learn what it is all about."

Despite his criticism, Verstappen acknowledged Liberty Media’s efforts to capitalise on its latest addition to the F1 calendar. 

"You can look at it two ways, business side or sport side, so I of course understand their side of it as well, but I'm just voicing my opinion on the performance side of things,” the Dutchman added. 

"We are not stakeholders [shareholders], so we just go with it. I mean, they decide what they do, right?

"I would do the same if I was the owner, I wouldn't listen to the drivers, it's my sport, I do with it what I want if that would be the case."

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