Lewis Hamilton beaming with Mercedes ‘not too far off’ in Las Vegas: ‘I had a blast’

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton in practice at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton had warm words for the Las Vegas Grand Prix layout.

Lewis Hamilton said he “had a blast” driving around Las Vegas in the heftily delayed FP2 session after FP1 was curtailed.

Carlos Sainz saw his Ferrari suffer huge damage after dislodging a water valve cover, which led to FP2 being delayed by two-and-a-half hours and a 4am finish for second practice.

Despite the disruption, Mercedes driver Hamilton said he used the time to watch a film and switch off before going top speed around Las Vegas.

Lewis Hamilton ‘had so much fun’ learning Las Vegas layout

There had initially been worries as to whether or not FP2 would happen at all while track repairs took place and further checks were undertaken throughout the circuit, but the drivers eventually got out again in the middle of the night for 90 minutes of running.

With top speeds right up there with the highest of the season, the seven-time World Champion said he enjoyed himself around a new circuit for Formula 1 this weekend.

“It’s incredibly fast, and I had so much fun today,” Hamilton said with a smile to Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz after the session.

“I’m so glad that we did get to run again. Obviously not great in P1 what happened, but they did a great job to fix it, and [it was] an interesting session.”

Despite the Mercedes duo ranking in the midfield in FP2, Hamilton 9th and George Russell 12th respectively come the chequered flag, the seven-time World Champion believes the team could be in the mix come qualifying.

When asked about how his car felt, he responded: “It’s okay, it’s not too bad.

“I think when we were all out on the similar tyres, I don’t think we’re too far off. And obviously, everyone’s having graining and people running out of tyres, but everyone was I think in a similar boat.

“Also we’re really low downforce, so you’re sliding through a lot of the low speed corners and also the high speed corners.

“You don’t have a huge amount of load because you need the straight-line speed, and then the temperatures I’m sure are having a big effect on it.”

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Max Verstappen wasn’t too complimentary about the circuit layout itself, replying with a simple “no” when asked if he enjoyed driving the track in practice.

Hamilton had warmer words for the Las Vegas Strip Circuit however, with huge top speeds up there with what is seen at Monza and Mexico City.

“It’s massively challenging,” he said when asked for his thoughts for the track itself.

“Even though they’ve got the long straights, there’s not really a lot of places to overtake because the grip is so low.

“And the tow is not huge, a bit like Monza when you’re behind people because you have the small wing, there’s not a lot of drag.

“So yeah, it’s going to be interesting. Qualifying, I think position will be really important, and then obviously degradation is going to be key, but I had a blast.

“Everyone’s struggling with jetlag and all that stuff and I feel really great. I just watched a movie in between the break, I feel great, I’m ready to go again.”

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