The first day of training for the Las Vegas Grand Prix in Formula 1 turned out to be a fiasco. It wasn’t until 4 a.m. local time that a grotesque day on the new street circuit came to an end.
The stands on and around the famous Strip in the American gambling paradise were almost empty at the time. VIPs who had purchased expensive tickets for the paddock were even turned away before the second training session started.
The first training had to be stopped after 8 minutes because the circuit turned out to be unsafe. Carlos Sainz suffered significant damage to his Ferrari after driving over a loose manhole cover and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine was also damaged.
All more than a hundred manhole covers on the circuit were then checked one by one and, if necessary, filled with cement. The second training, which was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Dutch time, could only start at 11:30 a.m.
Grid penalty Sainz
To compensate for the missed time, the drivers were allowed on the track for not 60 but 90 minutes. In that hour and a half, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the fastest time with 1.35.265.
The second fastest time went to Sainz, whose car was fitted with a number of new parts after contact with the manhole cover. The Spaniard received his third engine of the season, which means he will receive an automatic grid penalty of ten places on Sunday’s starting row.
Ferrari appealed against this, due to the “unusual external circumstances” that caused the damage, but the race management saw no reason to deviate from the rules and left the penalty.
99 procent show
World champion Verstappen did not get further than the sixth fastest time. In addition to the Ferrari duo, he also had to tolerate Fernando Alonso, Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen already announced yesterday that he is certainly not a fan of the track in Las Vegas, which is new on the Formula 1 calendar this year. “It’s 99 percent about the show and 1 percent about the race,” he grumbled.
The third training (from 5:30 am Dutch time) and qualifying (9:00 am) are scheduled for Saturday in Las Vegas. After a short night’s rest, the drivers will mainly hope for a flawless day in the run-up to Sunday’s race.
The post first appeared on nos.nl