Max Verstappen had to fight back from a five-second time penalty to win a thrilling race that featured two Safety Cars and incidents aplenty as the so-called entertainment capital of the world delivered.

A lot had been made about the weekend, which started amid farcical scenes when a loose drain cover caused chaos by heavily disrupting Thursday’s practice schedule. 

The race also faced criticism from several drivers, with triple world champion Verstappen being the loudest voice against F1’s return to Las Vegas, complaining the event was “99% show”. 

Although he did not directly mention his former title rival by name, Hamilton appeared to have a slight dig at Verstappen after Saturday evening’s race. 

“I am really happy, I had a positive race,” Hamilton told Sky. 

“I’m grateful that the race was so good, there was so much overtaking, like Baku but better! I wasn’t expecting the track to be so great. There were lots of overtaking opportunities.

“I think for all those who were so negative about the weekend, saying it was all about the show blah blah blah, I think Vegas proved them wrong.”

The seven-time world champion recovered from a puncture to finish seventh, ahead of Mercedes teammate George Russell who took eighth after serving a five-second time penalty for a mid-race collision with Verstappen.

“A really challenging race,” Hamilton explained. “I started on the hard tyre which was tricky. I got hit from behind - a big hit. I think it was Carlos? I tried to not hit the cars that had spun round. I fell back, I think five or six places. After that, I felt great. Tyres were feeling good, pace was strong.

"I went up the inside of Piastri. I don’t know exactly what happened. I obviously got the hit from behind, I think it was a racing incident. 

“I felt a thud, I didn’t have a puncture immediately. I was accelerating and, as I got to the pitlane entry, I felt the rear was moving. It was too late to come in. I had to do a whole slow lap. I must have lost 40s or something.

“Grateful I was able to come back. Apologies to the team for the poor qualifying. There are strengths in our car but sometimes it’s hard to get performance out of it."