F1 Sets Dubious Record at Las Vegas That Will Likely Stand the Test of Time

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F1 Sets Dubious Record at Vegas GP PracticeMark Thompson - Getty Images

Looking for positives in Thursday night's on-track debut of the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend is kind of like looking for something good to come out of the Grinch stealing all of your holiday presents on Christmas Eve.

Sure, there's a lesson in there somewhere, but on the surface, it basically took the air out of a hype balloon that has been flying sky high in recent weeks.

Fans who spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on tickets for the first practice sessions at the Las Vegas circuit on The Strip, saw a practice session that included all of eight minutes of on-track action in the first four hours of the evening's schedule.


Delays caused by at least one loose manhole cover that damaged a few cars meant that the first practice session lasted eight minutes and the final practice session didn't go off until about 2:30 a.m. local time in Las Vegas. The second session began 2 1/2 hours later than scheduled and was extended for 90 minutes to make up for lost time caused by track inspections and manhole cover fixes.

The day's practice that began at 8 p.m. local time in Las Vegas finally ended at 4 a.m. local time (7 a.m. ET).

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Haas F1 driver makes a pass in front of the Las Vegas Sphere during Thursday opening-night practice sessions.ANGELA WEISS - Getty Images

“It wasn’t a perfect start to FP1, running for less than 10 minutes in total, but I think the decision was right to wait and fix the track so we can get some laps in," Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner said. "FP2 was extended to 90-minutes as we lost so much time, and even though there was a big delay, it was a good thing that we did it.

"As much as everyone is tired, we had enough energy to get through a session, which for sure will help going into FP3. I think we went out there pretty prepared for a new event, so we need to continue our work tomorrow and get the cars in a good spot for qualifying and the race.”

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg, who was a surprising seventh-quickest in the final practice session, tried to look at the bright side of a long, embarrassing night for Formula 1.

"It was obviously an interesting day, in unique circumstances for everyone involved," Hulkenberg said. "I think having FP2 start at 2:30 (in the morning) will be a record that will stand for a long time, I don’t think that will be beaten easily.

"Building up to it and learning the circuit, we found that okay and we’re obviously still exploring. We’ll have to see overnight what we can do with our set-up but it didn’t feel bad today, at least over one lap.

"Thanks to the fans who came out and stayed with us for so long, we’ll make sure to bring you more entertainment tomorrow.”

Put F1's 2:30 a.m. session start time down as one of those records that will likely stand forever.