Lewis Hamilton hails Las Vegas Grand Prix and says it proved critics like Max Verstappen WRONG… and even Christian Horner concedes Sin City spectacle won the Dutchman over!

Lewis Hamilton took another shot at rival Max Verstappen by claiming the Las Vegas Grand Prix proved all his critics – with the Red Bull driver at the top of the pile – wrong after a thrilling race.

The 50-lap spectacle in Sin City saw much more than just a group of celebrities on track, with Verstappen coming out on top for his 18th win of the 2023 season.

Verstappen had compared the race in Vegas on Saturday to the fifth tier of English football, the National League, but at the checkered flag he sang along with Elvis Presley with a smile on his face.

“There are a lot of great overtaking opportunities and I think for all those who were so negative about the weekend and said it was all about show blah blah blah, Vegas has proven them wrong,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

Even Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had to admit that Verstappen’s cynicism about the race weekend was misplaced.

Lewis Hamilton (left) believes the Las Vegas GP proved Max Verstappen (right) and others wrong

The famous Las Vegas strip was transformed into a £400 million race track for the event

‘I thought it was a great race. Exciting. You have long straights, large braking zones and no grip, so difficult for the drivers,” said Horner.

‘I thought it made for a great Grand Prix and the speeds here are insane.

‘[Verstappen] loves such a race. Even though he was on the receiving end of a penalty. When he came back… the way he fought. I think he’s changed his mind about Vegas!’

Although Hamilton was unable to fight at the front – a puncture suffered in a collision with Oscar Piastri’s McLaren left plenty of competition at the top – he was a vocal supporter of the final race being added to the calendar. by owners Liberty Media.

The row over the addition of Vegas to the calendar arose after Wednesday’s opening ceremony, with Hamilton and Verstappen at odds.

Moments after a fireworks display brought down the curtain on the glittering welcome party, Verstappen, crowned three-time world champion in Qatar last month, was quick to pour scorn on the event.

“It’s 99 percent show and one percent sporting event,” said the 26-year-old. ‘I just stood there and looked like a clown.

‘I think they (F1) are still making money whether I like it or not. So it’s not my fault. But I’m not going to fake it.

‘I give my opinion on positive and negative things. That’s just how I am. And you know, some people like the show a little more. I don’t like it at all.

Las Vegas provided an iconic backdrop for the first Sin City Formula 1 race since 1982

Verstappen did not grumble as he celebrated victory in his Elvis-inspired racing suit

“I grew up looking at the performance side of things. And that’s how I see it too. I like being in Vegas, but not so much for racing.”

But seeing the checkered flag in the early hours of Sunday after a thrilling 50-lap race, all the critics were convinced.

“I wouldn’t change much,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

‘I might change qualifying from midnight to 10pm, like the start of the race. So you can keep the roads open in Vegas and dine for the fans for a long time to come.

‘Other than that it was a perfect event.’