Published On: Sat, Nov 18th, 2023
Sports | 2,647 views

Why Lewis Hamilton has been hit with ban at Las Vegas GP this weekend | F1 | Sport

Formula One has rolled into Las Vegas this weekend for three days of bright lights, roaring engines and unmatchable entertainment, but not everyone will get to savour all of the thrills that Sin City has to offer. Amid the luxurious hotels, casinos and neon lights a serious motor race is being contested and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is leaving nothing to chance.

Despite competing in a city that is drenched in temptation, the 51-year-old Austrian insists that he doesn’t gamble and none of his team representatives – including drivers Lewis Hamilton or George Russell – will be either.

Speaking to Spain about F1’s return to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982, Wolff said: “I think everyone is looking forward to the Las Vegas race. Racing in this city is comparable to climbing Everest, hats off to Liberty Media for organising this race.

“I don’t think I’m the only one in Formula One who has never been to this city, which is quite difficult to get around. We don’t know how to get from the hotel to the circuit and back, but I’m sure we’ll find a solution. I’m looking forward to the race.

“As I said, I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but we’ll do our best to make sure everyone in the team stays away from the casinos – I don’t gamble and I’ll make sure no one else gambles either!”

Wolff’s keenest to keep his troops on the straight and narrow is understandable given the disaster Mercedes suffered at the Brazilian Grand Prix last time out. Seven-time world champion Hamilton could only finish eighth whilst team-mate Russell had to retire with an engine cooling problem on the Interlagos circuit.

It leaves the Silver Arrows with just a 20-point lead over Ferarri in the Constructors’ Championship as the race to finish runners-up behind overall winners Red Bull hots up with just two races to go in the season.

Wolff’s fears appear to have been backed up by the views of Hamilton when confirmation of the return of the Las Vegas Grand Prix was originally announced in March last year.

F1 recorded the reactions of its drivers to news of the new event before posting them on their official social media channels.

Hamilton said: “Knowing that it’s a real party city, it’s difficult for a racing driver! How am I going to focus that weekend? There’s going to be so much going on. It’s going to be a pretty hardcore event.”

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, now retired, agreed with his former rival. Vettel said: “I’m sure that some drivers will spend some money at the casino, and hopefully try to gain it back on Sunday.”

Then-Haas driver Mick Schumacher – now Mercedes’ reserve driver – didn’t even attempt to hide his interest in the host city. He said: “I think you’ll find a few drivers in the casino, me being one of them.”

No matter who decides to take in a flutter in Las Vegas this weekend, the safest bet in town is that Max Verstappen will be stood on the top of the podium at the end of it.

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