Daniel Ricciardo says the timings at the Las Vegas Grand Prix will need to be brought forward in 2024 after learning it’s the first race in a triple-header.
This weekend’s inaugural race on the Las Vegas Strip Circuit saw qualifying take place at midnight, while FP2 should have been at the same time but was delayed until 2:30am. The race itself started at 10pm and with a major timezone shift for Abu Dhabi next weekend required, Ricciardo says the schedule can’t be repeated after finding out it will be followed by races in Qatar and Abu Dhabi in 2024.
“I think (the race lived up to expectations),” Ricciardo said. “I think after Thursday, after that late session, I felt like I’d been – all of us had been – delirious. I don’t know if this is the word but hallucinogenic! But it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then.
“The paddock is huge. It has a bit of atmosphere. I think it’s been alright. The only two things I would critique would be the asphalt, need to get some more grip out of it, and just the start times, bring them earlier and that would be a little smoother. I don’t think there’s a race after (Vegas next year), I think it’s a weekend off.”
Informed that it’s actually the first race of a triple-header, Ricciardo was surprised: “What!? No way. Alright. That does not have my vote. And now knowing that, they need to bring it forward, because we’ll be wrecked, especially at the end of the season. I’ve done six races and even I feel it. Hopefully they can make something work there.”
Despite there being reservations about the circuit layout ahead of the race too, Ricciardo believes it works well as a racetrack but could be improved in places with better grip to allow drivers to attack it more.
“Some parts are good. The biggest thing was just the level of grip. That’s what kind of makes Saudi quite a good circuit to drive. Yes, it’s fast and a street circuit, but you can throw the car in. Here you feel like you’re on top of the surface. You feel like you’re kind of at F2 level of grip.
“On one hand people would say that’s good, you have to wrestle the car, but it’s not a feeling you get a lot of feedback from. I think if the grip was higher it would be more enjoyable. Turn 3 I think would be close to flat out, that would be a pretty serious corner. It’s pretty bumpy. I got porpoising which I haven’t had since last year. Not a disaster.”