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Las Vegas GP diary: Horner’s birthday luck kicks off before the racing with incredible win | F1 | Sport


Christian Horner’s luck started an hour before the first practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix as he took part in the PokerStars charity poker tournament for a few hands. The Red Bull boss won an all-in call on his first hand with a pair of aces, hitting a pair of kings.

Former F1 driver David Coulthard also joined the likes of Friends sitcom legend Hank Azaria and the Love Island star for the poker tournament. Horner, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday, was in a relaxed mood throughout the day and was seen in the hospitality lounges less than half an hour before FP1 was due to start.

Happy Birthday was sung to the principal of the Red Bull team from different rooms as he entertained guests at ease with the two Champions already wrapped up.

Haas made an early appearance at the top of the pit walk ahead of the first practice session, with two of their team members tasked with capturing images of Max Verstappen’s car. DJ Steve Aoki, who performed during the opening show on Wednesday, was one of the many high-profile people in attendance, as a guest of Ferrari. But those numbers will surely increase as the weekend progresses.

The impressive paddock is four stories tall and has incredible views of the road, the glittering skyline and the Sphere on the roof bar.

Red Bull guests found a fake wall, driving simulators and a DJ in their new club suite. In contrast, Mercedes sent all their trophies to display at their entrance.

On track, there wasn’t much to say about it as FP1 was stopped after just eight minutes. A loose drain cover severely damaged the floor of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and he was unable to restart his car. The session was completely abandoned as the organizers desperately tried to repair the track, pouring cement down the hole.

Fans left in their thousands as the four hour wait for FP2 dragged on. This was put back for a further two hours to allow time to check the entire walk on the grid – but by that point all the supporters were fed up.

A final note of this diary entry must go to Vegas’ innovative Uber taxi system. If you order an Uber to any hotel on the strip the navigation system will automatically take you to the same place – a large car park about 15 minutes away from the main destinations.

At the car park there are six queues with smart orchestras, each leading to buses that drop off guests at selected hotels by driving through back roads only open to buses. That’s certainly one way to ease traffic congestion.

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