Rows of empty seats as qualifying for the Las Vegas Grand Prix gets underway at MIDNIGHT- following the chaotic scenes on Friday which saw some spectators evacuated after a drain cover came loose and halted action

  • The Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend continued with qualifying on Saturday 
  • Plenty of empty could be seen at the track following Friday’s chaotic events
  • Formula One is taking place in the city for the first time since 1982

Rows of empty seats could be seen as qualifying for the La Vegas Grand Prix got underway on Saturday. 

F1’s first GP weekend in the city since 1982 got off to a rocky start when a loose drainage cover halted Friday’s first practice session and delayed the second, which ran well into the early hours of the morning. 

As a result, many spectators missed the bulk of the action on Friday and images would suggest that trend has continued into the second day of racing in Nevada. 

Footage recorded by fans at the Vegas strip circuit revealed tons of empty seats in the stands as qualifying got underway at midnight local time. 

Earlier this week, Motorsports website found about 10,000 unsold grandstand seats near the recently constructed Sphere and the circuit’s East Harmon Zone when examining Ticketmaster data.

Friday’s action was disrupted by a loose drainage cover which caused damage to two cars

The stands were nearly empty after fans who had paid £200 per ticket were sent home following the cancellation of FP1 and FP2 late running

The stands were nearly empty after fans who had paid £200 per ticket were sent home following the cancellation of FP1 and FP2 late running

A Formula One spokesperson told Mail Sport that they expected to sell out the event and are planning for an attendance of about 100,000 people for each of the three days of the grand prix.

Those plans were dealt a major blow by the chaos that ensued on Friday and resulted in fans – some of whom had paid $185,000 (£150,000) to view the action – fuming at the cancelled session.

F1 chiefs will be cursing their luck after the glitz and glamour was quickly washed away amid the chaos of the loose drain cover.

Race officials had released a statement that an inspection by Formula One and FIA determined ‘a single water valve cover… failed’ in the first practice.

The FIA later said Carlos Sainz hit the concrete frame around a manhole cover and the governing body must now inspect every manhole cover on the course.

‘We will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule,’ the FIA said.

The Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Sainz qualified ahead of three-time world champion Max Verstappen. 

However, the Dutchman will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix on the front row alongside Leclerc after Sainz was forced to take a grid penalty following the damage he sustained by running over the damaged part of the track.