Christian Horner makes big Las Vegas GP claim with track verdict issued

Henry Valantine
Christian Horner on the Las Vegas pit wall.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner on the pit wall.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has put the Las Vegas Grand Prix layout “right up there” for racing among Formula 1’s selection of street circuits, after an entertaining debut.

The Saturday night race saw Max Verstappen overhaul Charles Leclerc for victory, while Sergio Perez recovered from 11th on the grid to make it a Red Bull double podium.

Perez was overtaken by Leclerc in the last braking zone on the last lap to thwart a Red Bull 1-2 on the night, but that was still enough to secure both Red Bull drivers’ places in the top two in the Drivers’ Championship – a first for the team.

Christian Horner puts Las Vegas ‘right up there’ among F1 street circuits

Opinion was split on the track itself once the event got up and running, following the false start in practice that saw Carlos Sainz heavily damage his car after running over and dislodging a water valve cover.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen spoke passionately on the subject of “proper tracks” after qualifying, of which he does not believe Las Vegas is one yet, being openly critical of the circuit and the “show” surrounding the event for most of the weekend.

After he took victory on Saturday night, his team boss was more effusive in his praise of the Las Vegas circuit and the racing it produced throughout the field.

“I think it’s right up there,” Horner responded to Sky Sports F1 when given the opinion by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button that Las Vegas has shown itself to be one of the best street circuits on a racing level.

“I mean, it’s long and fast straights so big slipstreams, big braking zones, you can see down that last straight, some dive bombing that was going on there.

“I think the layout of the circuit has actually delivered and, you know, the surface being super slippy as well, you saw the drivers really working today.

“I mean, some of the onboards I thought were, you know, I closed my eyes at a couple of moments when you know the particularly on the cold tyres at the restart it was really getting very lairy.”

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There was a lot of build-up and hype around the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend, with a huge amount of money having been spent on marketing the event and constructing a permanent paddock in the city.

That already comes alongside the sheer upheaval of closing the public roads to create the circuit, and Horner believes the city itself has welcomed the sport in such a way that even its most vocal critic has improved his stance on it.

“I think the way that Vegas has embraced Formula 1, the excitement that there is, this new sort of crowd that’s this getting hooked into Formula 1 is a great thing.

“I think even Max has warmed up to the Vegas Grand Prix.”

Read next: Lewis Hamilton reveals the huge time he lost in chaotic Las Vegas Grand Prix