Max Verstappen: ‘Las Vegas is National League – Monaco is Champions League’

The three-time world champion has been outspoken about the Vegas ‘show’ at this week’s inaugural race

Kieran Jackson
in Las Vegas
Saturday 18 November 2023 11:20 GMT
Verstappen calls Ocon a ‘stupid idiot’ in F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix qualifying tussle

Max Verstappen compared the Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit to the “National League” after qualifying on Saturday – while Monaco is the Champions League.

The three-time world champion has been outspoken this week about the inaugural race on the Vegas strip, describing it as “99% show, 1% race.”

After qualifying in third place in qualifying on Friday night – though he will start alongside pole-sitter Charles Leclerc in second as a result of Carlos Sainz’s penalty – the drivers were asked to compare a lap around the new circuit to other street tracks such as Singapore, Baku and Monaco.

Verstappen simply quipped: “Monaco is Champions League… this is National League.”

The National League is the fifth tier of English football, while the Champions League is Europe’s premier club competition.

Verstappen was involved in a close shave with Esteban Ocon in the first part of qualifying, labelling the Alpine driver a “stupid idiot.”

The Red Bull driver fell short of Leclerc’s pole-setting time by 0.378 seconds, though won’t be concerned given his supreme record this season.

Max Verstappen compared the Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit to the National League after qualifying on Saturday

Verstappen has won 17 out of the 20 races in 2023, winning every grand prix since April bar Singapore in September.

Verstappen starts second due to Sainz’s 10-place grid penalty as a result of exceeding his gearbox allocation after Thursday’s unfortunate incident with the loose manhole cover.

The issue badly damaged his car and caused chaos on opening night, with fans seeing just eight minutes of cars on track.

F1 refused to issue refunds to single-day ticket holders on Friday, instead offering a $200 gift voucher for the official race shop,

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