Las Vegas GP diary: Security heightened with hotel room checks ahead of race PokerStars
the Las Vegas Grand Prix
Security for the Las Vegas Grand Prix has been ramped up with every hotel room at the major venues on the famous strip being searched at least once a day. Guests at the Paris Hotel were served with written notices that their rooms will be subject to random checks.
Despite a delayed FP2 not finishing until 3.30am on Friday morning, security performed their first checks off the day by waking everybody up individually shortly after 9am.
This is no mean task as some hotels have over 5,000 rooms. In 2017, a shooter at the Mandalay Bay hotel tragically killed 60 and injured over 400 more during a music festival. The Grand Prix track is not visible from that venue but is from many other hotels, and the authorities are taking no risks.
There has been no warning of any threat in Nevada but security is clearly a top priority and being taken seriously. Transparent bags are mandatory on site of the Grand Prix and there are numerous scanners upon entry.
Meanwhile, PokerStars took Express Sport behind the scenes for a sit down with Max Verstappen and the Dutchman has never appeared more relaxed, despite not getting to sleep until 6am following the second practice session. The 26-year-old happily answered any questions and signed memorabilia for other guests at the exclusive chat.
Fans finally got to see cars on the track during FP3 following a disappointing opening day where FP1 was cancelled after just eight minutes and FP2 was postponed until 2am – 30 minutes after all supporters had been kicked out.
However, there was no full practice session on his occasion either as Logan Sargeant lost a tyre when clipping the wall. With only four minutes remaining on the clock, time was called early.
Christian Horner took time between FP3 and qualifying to visit Red Bull hospitality guests and continued to lap up the Happy Birthday singsongs. He also joked about how his Spice Girl wife Geri would “kill him” if he didn’t take time to rest and recover over the Xmas break.
There was a large gasp behind the scenes when Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton both failed to make it into Q3. Even more amazingly, both Williams cars secured a place in the top 10.
But it was Ferrari’s day as Charles Leclerc secured secured pole positon and Carlos Sainz set the second quickest lap time – but he will fall 10 places on the grid due to a penalty. Max Verstappen was third, meaning he joins Leclerc on the front row