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A view of the race winner's trophy on the podium under the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign during the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Las Vegas: Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton said Saturday’s enthralling Las Vegas Grand Prix, won by champion Max Verstappen had been the perfect answer to critics of the new race.

Verstappen had been the most prominent of those critics of the scene in Vegas this week, arguing that the Grand Prix was over-dominated by the razmazztaz in the party city.

But the night-time street race with multiple lead changes as the cars powered down the famous Vegas ‘strip’ showed the event can also deliver sporting thrills.

“For all those people that were so negative about this weekend, saying it’s all about the show and blah blah blah — I think Vegas proved them wrong,” said Hamilton, who finished in seventh place.

Great race

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner agreed.

“I thought it was a great race. Exciting. You’ve got long straights, big braking zones and no grip, so tricky for the drivers.

“I thought it delivered a great Grand Prix and the speeds around here are insane,” he said, adding that Verstappen had clearly relished the challenge.

“He loves a race like that. Even though he was on the end of a penalty. When he came back ... the way he fought. I think he changed his mind about Vegas,” he said.

But Verstappen was careful with his words when asked to reflect on the return of F1 to the city after a 41-year absence.

“Well, I was expecting it to be a good race today, it’s just like I said before about the straights, the low-speed corners ... so that has never been my issue.

“But, yes, today was fun. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Today was fun and I hope everyone enjoyed it,” he said.

'Viva Las Vegas'

Verstappen had sung along to ‘Viva Las Vegas’ when it was played over the team radio at the end of the race but suggested not too much should be read into that.

“I mean Christian put me on the spot so I cannot leave him hanging because I have to sign but I definitely need some lessons. I need to go to Germany to book an appointment I guess,” he joked.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he did not believe much would need to be adjusted for next year’s event.

“I wouldn’t change a lot. I would change qualifying maybe, move it from midnight to 10pm, the same time the race started. Other than that I think it was a perfect event. There’s nothing else to say,” he said.