Lewis Hamilton makes F1 ‘circus’ plea after backlash from Las Vegas locals

Lewis Hamilton insists locals living in Las Vegas “can’t be negatively affected” by Formula 1’s arrival in the city this week – and the sport should not turn into a “circus.”

F1 holds its first grand prix in Vegas for more than 40 years this weekend, with a brand new street circuit which sees cars speed down the world-famous strip at over 200mph.

But there has been a backlash among some locals due to the disruption caused by the construction of the track, including a $500m pit building facility.

Tourists and taxi drivers have voiced their annoyance following traffic delays throughout the city as a result of road closures – and seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton believes the sport must stay “respectful” to locals.

“I’ve heard there’s been a lot of complaints about the event being here from the locals,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News.

“I think we have to be respectful of the locals here, so many people working so hard – there’s a lot of money and wealth in this city.

“We’ve got to make sure people are taken care of. We can’t be a circus that shows up that’s all glitz and glamour and people are affected negatively by it, in my opinion.”

Vegas will host the third F1 race of the season in the United States, following on from Miami in May and Austin last month.

Hamilton admits it’s been “amazing” to see the growth of F1 ever since his debut in 2007 – and a stage when he had to “educate” Americans about the sport.

Lewis Hamilton insists F1 needs to be ‘respectful’ of Las Vegas locals (Getty Images for IWC Schaffhausen)
Lewis Hamilton insists F1 needs to be ‘respectful’ of Las Vegas locals (Getty Images for IWC Schaffhausen)

“I’ve been here [in F1] now for 16 years – it’s been really impressive to see the growth of our sport,” Hamilton added.

“I used to come to America, the first grand prix in 2007 in Indianapolis, and over the years always having to educate people about what this sport is about.

“Knowing how big a sporting audience they have here and I just couldn’t understand why they weren’t drawn to sport like we were growing up, living with it

“It’s been amazing to see the shift over the last couple of years, that the country is really embracing the sport and seem to love it just as much as we do.”

Hamilton was speaking at a sponsors event on Tuesday night at Speed City on the outskirts of Las Vegas, with AMG collaborating with IWC for the launch of Mercedes’ new AMG GT Coupe’ road car.