Lewis Hamilton previews Las Vegas Grand Prix
Few Formula 1 races in the recent past have proved to be as divisive as the Las Vegas Grand Prix. From extortionate ticket prices to glitzy pre-race performances and lavish fireworks and drone displays, the spectacles have been met with a mixture of skepticism and excitement. But just what can fans expect from the first race in Vegas since 1982? How much will it cost to witness the action? And where will the drivers race in one of the busiest cities in the world?
A transformed Las Vegas Strip
When the Las Vegas GP was first announced, the first question on everyone’s lips concerned where the race would take place. Las Vegas – even during the quieter months – is one of the busiest places in America, making it an interesting destination for a sport that requires a lot of room.
The solution: The Las Vegas Strip. The last race in Nevada saw drivers compete at a track around the iconic Caesars Palace Hotel. This time drivers will be treated to a plethora of landmarks.
The track has been created on the Strip, where drivers will race down Las Vegas Boulevard, Harmon Avenue, Koval Lane, Westchester Drive and then through Sand Avenue. A number of iconic buildings en route include Caesars, the Bellagio Fountains, Planet Hollywood, MSG Sphere and The Mirage.
More than just a race
Despite the race taking place at the weekend, organizers wasted no time in getting the party started. The official opening ceremony kicked off on Wednesday night in typical Vegas fashion.
A star-studded ceremony included musical performances from the likes of John Legend, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Journey, Keith Urban, J Balvin and Andra Day. The night was headlined by iconic songstress Kylie Minogue.
The drivers were also presented to the crowd on large podiums, amid a laser and firework show, where they greeted the 30,000-strong spectators in attendance.
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In the days to come a number of celebrities are expected to attend the events and the race itself – something eagle-eyed fans will be sure to look out for. The 580,000 sq ft of LED Las Vegas Sphere will also feature heavily with a variety of displays.
Eye-watering ticket prices
It won’t come cheap to catch a glimpse of the action in Las Vegas. Grandstand tickets for the race are still available but come in at a pricey fee of around £2,000.
In comparison, the ticket prices are nothing compared to what some fans will pay to watch the race in comfort. Caesars Entertainment unveiled its “Emperor Package” which costs a staggering £4.1 million.
Only 12 of the tickets are available which will grant the buyer tickets to see Adele at Caesars Palace, a private meal at Nobu and a 24-hour butler as part of their admission. They will also enjoy access to Paddock Club passes, a five-night stay in their own 4,700-square-foot terrace suite overlooking the Las Vegas Strip circuit and will be chauffeured around in a Rolls Royce for the duration.
What about the race itself?
The first event will take place at 8:30 p.m. local time on Thursday when drivers will compete in the first practice session. A second practice follows at midnight, with the third taking place at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
The qualifying round will start at midnight to determine the start positions of the race. And the main event will start at 10 p.m. – the latest-ever start to an F1 race.
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