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Contained in the Ferrari Storage on the Las Vegas Grand Prix

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After working by the night time with Ferrari engineers and mechanics in a livid, last-minute try and restore the broken automobile in time for Saturday night time’s race—and navigating a irritating penalty imposed by the game’s governing physique, primarily for having to make use of a substitute half to repair one thing that was both an act of God or a fault of the observe infrastructure—Vasseur spoke his unvarnished fact in regards to the not possible state of affairs at a press convention, whereupon the host then tried to pivot to a cheerier topic.

“I used to be on this temper,” Vasseur says. “After which the man stated, ‘Ah—might you do a abstract of the season?’ I stated, ‘No—fuck that.’”

Across the similar time, Max Verstappen—the game’s intermittently humorless world champion three years working, who’s already been declared the champion a fourth time after a dominating 2023 season—known as the Vegas race “99% present, 1% sporting occasion.”

“I perceive followers want one thing to do round a observe, however it’s extra essential to make them perceive what we do as a sport,” he continues, a day later. “Most come to simply have a celebration, drink, see a efficiency. I can do this everywhere in the world—I can do Ibiza and get fully shit-faced and have a very good time.”

Leclerc appears to know this take, however from the opposite aspect of the coin, because it have been. “I got here right here three years in the past with all of my greatest associates,” he tells me, “largely to celebration—and we had an unbelievable time. I really like Vegas. Clearly we’re right here now for a special motive—however the hype across the race is what makes it so particular. It make it extra enjoyable.”

After the Wednesday night time opening ceremony festivities, which featured everybody from Kylie Minogue and Andra Day to John Legend and Keith City, together with all of the drivers gathered collectively, Verstappen had already stated: “For me, you may skip this… We’re simply standing up there, wanting like a clown.” Twenty-four hours later, he’d step into his automobile in a racing go well with designed in homage to Vegas-era Elvis. 

If I realized something from my three days spent on the rococo coronary heart of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, it’s this: In the event you’ve bought an issue with clowns, greatest steer clear of the circus. Town of Las Vegas—together with its armada of lodges, resorts, and casinos, together with the homeowners of Formulation 1—has spent billions of {dollars} and a few years constructing to this second, and so they have been prepared. My lodging on the Wynn included three days of Paddock Membership passes—which got here packed in a big field with two tiers of pull-out drawers, every of which contained varied laminates, individually arrayed in presentation bins, delivered to me by an attendant carrying white gloves. After I checked into my room, a big chocolate sculpture of the Wynn was ready on the desk, and particular person treats—from extra candies to Ladurée macarons, to race merch and a Chinese language pineapple cake from the Wynn’s Wing Lei restaurant—have been introduced at common intervals. The paddock itself included a marriage chapel replete with an Elvis impersonator to marry you, when you so wished. (A number of {couples} did, together with 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who was taken without warning by his girlfriend, Giulia Marra, as “Elvis” sang “Right here Comes the Bride.”)    

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