Pierre Gasly bucks trend with surprise Las Vegas Grand Prix verdict

Oliver Harden
Pierre Gasly, Alpine

Alpine driver Pierre Gasly speaks to the media at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Alpine driver Pierre Gasly has leapt to the defence of the divisive Las Vegas Grand Prix, insisting it “makes complete sense” for F1 to stage a race at the Nevada venue.

F1’s first trip to Vegas in four decades has caused divisions among fans and competitors, with three-time World Champion Max Verstappen vociferous in his criticism of the newest addition to the calendar.

Verstappen’s concerns seemed to be justified on Thursday, when the opening practice session was cancelled after just 10 minutes and FP2 was delayed for a number of hours after Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz struck a loose drain cover on the street circuit.

Pierre Gasly defends Las Vegas Grand Prix

Fans were ejected from their seats ahead of FP2 as F1 sought to stick to local laws regarding working hours, with the sport’s handling of the situation widely criticised.

However, Gasly – who will start fourth following an impressive performance in qualifying – believes it is a remarkable feat for F1 to put on a race in Vegas and has praised the track layout.

He told media in Vegas: “I like it. We are entertainments, F1 is entertainment, it’s a business.

“I think it makes complete sense to come here. It’s not easy at such a venue, but I think it’s great F1 managed to make it happen and we give it a go.

“Just on the driving point of view, which is my seat for the whole weekend, I had a lot of fun driving around and it was great, so hopefully the race can also be fun to watch for everyone.”

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Asked directly about the scenes involving fans being marched out of their seats by police on practice day, Gasly argued that teething troubles are to be expected at a new circuit.

And he believes the situation was a function of F1’s commitment to pleasing everyone from drivers and teams to race organisers and fans.

He explained: “It was a tricky situation to manage and it’s never easy.

“I think, in the interest of everyone, F1 tries to deliver the best show they can and with the tools that they have and sometimes you’ve got some limitations.

“They want to please everyone. They want to please the drivers, they want to please the teams, they want to please the fans, the organisers, the people.

“Ultimately, sometimes it’s difficult to achieve it and it’s the first time we’ve come to this venue so you’ve got to expect that things aren’t going to be always smooth, but hopefully the rest of the weekend can be amazing.”

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