Three reasons F1 fans should stay awake for the Las Vegas Grand Prix

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Welcome back to Prime Tire, where we’re wondering when Esteban Ocon‘s awful Elvis impression will stop playing on a loop in our heads. 2045?

It’s Las Vegas Grand Prix week, folks. Our reporters are in town, and our live blog is humming along. I’m Patrick, and Madeline Coleman will be along shortly. Let’s get to it.

Three reasons to stay up for the Las Vegas GP

You might’ve heard by now that the Las Vegas GP will start at 10 p.m. PT– at or past midnight for much of North America. Of course, that led to plenty of questions in our mailbag gatherer like this one from James E.:

“Can you convince me that this is worth staying up for on the East Coast?” I sure can try, James:

It’s a unique new track. “What if we achieved Monza-level speeds (223.1 mph) in downtown Las Vegas?” That seems to be the question the track designers asked and answered when conceiving this upside-down pig-shaped track. Two long straights (one down The Strip) with DRS open should provide some decent overtakes.

There’s recent precedent for good racing. The four-way battle at Singapore. Lewis Hamilton’s charge in Austin and Fernando Alonso vs. Sergio Pérez at São Paulo. And the dizzyingly fast Monza straights gave us that fun duel between the Ferraris. The ingredients of a fun race could exist in Vegas – and we haven’t even mentioned the tire challenges.

And the spectacle will be … spectacular? No, wait: bonkers. That’s the word I’m looking for. It’s only Tuesday, and it feels like the sport is 20 percent wackier than last week:

So I suppose the short answer is: stay up to watch the race because it’ll be different. And when Max Verstappen is 17 seconds ahead on lap 24, you can go to bed. No judgment here.

The Netflix Cup, explained

There will be twice as many drivers as usual at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas tonight when four F1 drivers pair with four PGA Tour golfers. (That’s a golf joke for ya.)

Undeterred by the “Love Is Blind” live reunion show’s technical mishaps, Netflix is doing the live show thing again tonight with the eight-hole Netflix Cup. Madeline has the full breakdown here. Here are the basics.

What is it? The Netflix Cup. I just told you.

But what’s a Netflix Cup? Oh, sorry. It’s an eight-hole golf match between four teams at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.

OK. Who is on the teams? Pierre Gasly and Colin Morikawa; Lando Norris and Ricky Fowler; Carlos Sainz and Justin Thomas; Alex Albon and Max Homa.

And what is golf? Nobody knows.

What day is it? Tuesday, Nov. 14. Today. Tonight.

What time? 3 p.m. PT/ 6 p.m. ET / 11 p.m. in the U.K.

I’m busy, sorry. No, you’re not. I know you’re not. You’re me.

Fine. Where do I watch it? Live on Netflix (but it will be available to watch later, too).

Oh, good, because I’m very busy. Coloring in the boxes on your Sudoku puzzle does not count as busy. Anyway. Here’s Madeline with more on tonight’s Netflix Cup.

The Netflix Cup is effectively an exhibition match. “There’s no points on the PGA Tour schedule,” said Chris Wandell, the vice president of media business development for the PGA Tour. “It’s really kind of a fun showcase of some of these guys’ personality and talent, just like ‘Full Swing.’

It’s become fairly obvious that there’s a strong interest in golf within the F1 paddock, and given F1’s interest in expanding the sport’s footprint, this Netflix opportunity seemed like a no-brainer.

“One of the things that ‘Drive to Survive’ has taught us (is that) people are interested in people — people’s stories, who are these people? … The majority of the time in the past, when you saw them, they’re sat in a car with the sides up (high), and they’ve got a helmet on,” said Ian Holmes, F1’s director of media rights. “You might have seen them briefly on the grid, you might have seen the top three on the podium, but you rarely saw them out of the car and interacting with one another.

“What ‘Drive to Survive’ has done is given the fans, especially new fans, a better understanding of who these people are. We see the Netflix Cup as just an extension of that.”

And now, a photo without context

a shower with a shower head and a sign

Is it? (Patrick Breen for The Athletic)

Just kidding, here’s context:

Inside, guests are greeted with a neon sign that says, “She Loves F1,” sandwiched between photos of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. Sprinkled throughout the short-term rental property are different Formula One-themed decorations, like a pop culture Ayrton Senna photo in the primary bedroom or the Valtteri Bottas-themed bathroom – including a sign that reads, “Time to get Bottss naked.”

That’s from Madeline’s excellent story on the “She Loves F1” Airbnb. I love stories that start as one thing and end up being about so much more. This certainly qualifies. Give it a whirl.

Outside the points

Our pre-Las Vegas GP mailbag is out! And it’s a big one. Are lots of people interested in F1 this week? Huh.

Jeff Gluck wrote about F1’s takeover of the Sphere. I don’t know about you, but I think I’d be okay with a live stream of Guenther Steiner all week.

And, finally, one more time: our Las Vegas GP live blog is already up and humming. Join us, won’t you?

(Lead image: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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