Max Verstappen remains unenthused by the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend after an uninspiring first day of on-track activity.

When the underside of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari was stuck by a loose drain cover in FP1, the opening practice session was red-flagged and not restarted after just eight minutes of running.

FP2 was delayed by two-and-a-half hours as track engineers carried out emergency repairs to the circuit.

As a result, drivers were granted an additional 30 minutes of running in the second practice session, seeing drivers circulate the brand-new circuit until 4am local time.

The Red Bull driver has been a vocal critic of the event since his arrival in Vegas and the Dutchman’s stance remained unchanged despite 37 tours on Friday.

Asked if he had enjoyed his first proper outing at the third and final American circuit on Formula 1’s 2023 calendar, Verstappen bluntly responded: “No.

“I’ve had better tracks in my life, I already said that yesterday,” he expanded. “There’s nothing new that I discovered or whatever, but yeah, we just get on with it.

“It’s slippery, of course we didn’t really run a lot in FP1 so it took a bit of time to rubber it in a little bit more. I think at the end it was a little bit better and we managed to do the whole programme which I guess was most important for today.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19.
16.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Practice Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

Verstappen could only manage sixth in the only representative session so far. His time of 1:36.183s saw him 0.918s slower than pacesetter Charles Leclerc.

With running and data limited, there is still plenty on the table for the reigning World Champion, who admits he is yet to find his footing on long runs.

“I think the Soft over one lap is good. Long run was a bit more difficult,” he conceded.

“It seemed like the Soft tyre was struggling quite a lot out there so we very quickly went onto the Medium.

“It seemed that the Medium was not a straightforward tyre either on the long runs so, still a bit of things we have to look into to see how we can improve our degradation on the long run.

“I think we still looked very good compared to others but I feel like we can maybe still do a better job. So, not straightforward to pick your tyres for the race.”

Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez outperformed the Dutchman in FP2 by a tenth, leaving him extremely pleased with his progress so far as he targets a return to the podium.

The Mexican was also swift to express his sympathy for fans after ticketholders were ejected from the circuit at 1:30am due to logistical concerns and security shortages.

“It is a challenging place, I’m very sorry for the fans that this happened,” he said. “But I’m sure that we’re going to be able to put on a nice race, a nice race weekend and overall I think it is a challenging place.”

Perez added: “The grip level is quite low, so it is just coming up which makes things a lot more challenging. I think we were making good progress which is important in my opinion, so yeah, happy with that.”

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