F1 drivers unimpressed with introduction of American style in Miami

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Mercedes drive Lewis Hamilton greets LL Cool J on the grid ahead of the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday

US organizers of Formula One's Miami Grand Prix introduced the competitors in showbiz style ahead of Sunday's race, but the drivers were not impressed by the razzmatazz.

Before the national anthem and the start of the race, rapper-turned-actor LL Cool J introduced the drivers to Formula One's best run on dry ice and the crowd to the glittery pom-poms of the NFL Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.

While it was clearly designed to appeal to the South crowd, Mercedes driver George Russell said it was not ideal preparation for a 57-lap high-speed race in the heat.

“It's distracting because, you know, we were on the grid for half an hour in the sun in all our overalls,” he said. “I don't think there's any other sport in the world that 30 minutes before you go out to do your you're out in the sun, with all the cameras on you, and performing a little bit of it.

“We talked about it on Friday night as drivers. Everybody has different personalities. I think it's the American way of doing things, doing the sport.

“Personally, probably not for me. But you know, that's just my personal .”

Red Bull's world champion Max Verstappen, who went on to win the race, broadly agreed, saying that attitudes came down to personality and preferences.

He said, “Some people like to be in the limelight, some people don't. I personally don't do that.” “So for me, I think, naturally, what he did today is not necessary. I just like to talk to my engineers, walk up to my car, put on the helmet and drive.

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“But of course, I understand the entertainment value. So yeah, I hope we don't have that every time because we have a very long season. So we don't need an entry like that every time.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted F1 is still experimenting with different approaches in a new market for him, but said such innovations needed to take into account drivers' desire for quiet preparation .

“It's hard enough for the drivers, to be honest with you, racing through dry ice and high-fiving A-listers that they probably aren't sure who they are. Then thrown in the national anthem and expected to deliver Gone,” he said.

“There aren't many sports that do what have to do. And so I think we need to be respectful.”

But seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who hugged LL Cool J on his way out, supported the move.

“They're trying new things, they're always trying to make the show better, and I'm in full support of that,” he said.

“I thought it was cool.”

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