The organisers of the Las Vegas Grand Prix are set to frustrate the grid once again this weekend as the driver walk-ons make their return. These proved extremely unpopular when introduced in Miami, although Lewis Hamilton wasn’t totally against the idea.
F1 introduced the driver introductions to add some fanfare and character to the Miami Grand Prix, which is still finding its feet on the calendar after the first two editions. This year they were hosted by rap icon LL Cool J, although many fans found them to be awkward and cringeworthy.
Despite facing backlash from the sport’s fans and a plethora of drivers, they will be returning in Las Vegas as F1 looks to go bigger than ever before when it comes to the show and grandeur surrounding this Grand Prix.
Hamilton came out in support of the idea in Miami, much to the contrast of his fellow drivers. “They are trying new things, they’re trying to improve the show always, and I’m in full support of it,” he explained after the event.
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“Geez, I grew up listening to LL Cool J, and LL Cool J was there. That’s cool. You look over, you’ve got will.i.am who’s an incredible artist. You’ve got Serena and Venus standing there. I thought it was cool.”
However, he was very much in the minority. His Mercedes team-mate George Russell said: “I don’t think there’s any other sport in the world that 30 minutes before you go out to do your business that you’re out there in the sun, all the cameras on you and making a bit of a show of it.”
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Lando Norris backed this up, stating: “None of the drivers like it. We do so much publicity for the fans [but] as drivers we all just want to sit down and focus on what we need to focus on and not do so much TV and everything. It’s a business at the end of the day so it’s what we’ve got to do but adding more and more stuff like this, no driver likes it.”
These opinions align with Verstappen’s recent comments from his TIME Magazine interview, in which he stated: “I would just keep in mind that the actual sport comes first, instead of the show. That, for me, is very important, and that eventually will also decide if I stay or not.”
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