Las Vegas comes up trumps for Formula One despite rough road
Formula One’s Las Vegas gamble came up trumps with one of the best shows of the season as Max Verstappen – chief critic of the £500million race – claimed victory on Saturday night.
Here, the PA news agency dissects the key questions surrounding F1’s maiden extravaganza in Sin City.
Formula One bosses were in crisis management mode in the early hours of Friday morning. First practice had been abandoned after eight minutes, and the delayed second running – which finished at 4am – was played out in front of empty grandstands.
It was a catastrophic look for the event which F1 had billed for months as the greatest show on Earth.
By the close of Saturday’s thrill-a-minute 50-lap race – which saw the lead change hand on five occasions – F1 chiefs were celebrating a triumph.
Sin City had delivered on the hype, providing a 48-hour turnaround to savour for the sport’s relieved American owners’ Liberty Media.
A faulty drain cover tore a hole through Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari. First practice was scrapped and fans were kicked out after witnessing only a handful of laps.
F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali stopped short of an apology, while the organisers did not offer a refund, but a 200 US dollar (£160) voucher to spend on merchandise instead.
The goodwill offer, which largely went down like a lead balloon, did not take into consideration money spent on flights and hotels.
A lawsuit has since been filed seeking damages for the 35,000 spectators who were left feeling aggrieved.
The scheduling on the Strip left much to be desired. Following the 4am finish to Thursday night’s delayed practice, qualifying concluded just after 1am, with Justin Bieber waving the chequered flag on Saturday’s race shortly before midnight.
A jet-lagged paddock was