Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo had some choice words for former teammate Max Verstappen, who spent most of last weekend trashing the Las Vegas Grand Prix before winning the race.
When asked about the controversial $760 million Sin City event, the Aussie eight-time race winner said he was enjoying the spectacle, the New York Post reports.
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“A few drivers have been a little bit ‘whatever’ about it,” Ricciardo, 34, told guests during a Q&A in the Qatar Airways Paddock Club.
“I think they’re just trying to rebel. Deep down they really like it, they just don’t want to admit it,” he added.
When the AlphaTauri driver was asked who he was alluding to, he sarcastically replied: “(He has) a really long first name,” in reference to the outspoken Verstappen.
Verstappen, 26, previously said he “would tear the whole place down” if he was among the fans denied a refund after seeing just nine minutes of on-track action last Thursday.
Spectators were kicked out of the circuit after the second practice session was delayed by 2 1/2 hours due to track inspections and repairs.
The first practice session ended after less than 10 minutes when Carlos Sainz’s car ran over a drain cover that badly damaged the floor of his Ferrari.
Earlier in the week, Verstappen didn’t mince his words when he described the race as “99 per cent show and one per cent sporting event”.
“I feel like a show element is important, but I lack emotion,” he said of the street circuit.
“Of course I understand fans need something to do around the track, but it is more important we make them understand what we do about the sport,” the three-time world champion went on.
“I love Vegas, but not to drive a F1 car; to go out, throw everything on red, whatever. But the emotion and passion is not there compared to some old-school tracks.”
However, it seems Ricciardo’s comments about secretly harbouring a soft spot for Vegas rang true when Verstappen took home victory from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on Saturday night.
“Viva Las Vegas,” he sang on the radio after crossing the checkered flag, marking his 18th win of the 2023 season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted Vegas may have finally won over the Dutchman after his extremely critical comments.
“He loved and revelled in a race like that,” Horner told Sky Sports.
“I think he might have changed his mind about Vegas.”
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission