Martin Garrix Believes The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Will Eventually Be A Destination Event

Martin Garrix Believes The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Will Eventually Be A Destination Event

Getty Image/Heineken/Merle Cooper

LAS VEGAS – Dutch DJ/producer Martin Garrix chose not to wear his Whoop over the last 24 hours. The wrist device, which monitors daily exertion and recovery, wouldn’t have given him data he wanted to see in the lead-up to the inaugural Formula One Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix. Garrix flew in on Friday, played a late-night show at Omnia on Friday night, did an extended set at the Marquee Dayclub on Saturday afternoon, rushed through some other obligations, and got to the Paddock in time to see his long-time friend Max Verstappen win a thrilling race on the Vegas Strip. To cap it all off, he performed the closing ceremony at the track, then celebrated with Max back at Omnia into the early morning.

There’s not much time for recovery over a typical F1 weekend. Add the craziness of Vegas, and the decision to not want to track that behavior entirely starts to make a bit more sense.

The prevailing story being written about race weekend — the first in a 10-year agreement between F1 and the city — was about how much of a disaster it would be. Take your pick of national (and international) outlets, and you could have your fill of anthropological observations from the ground about road closures and taped-over views on walking bridges and empty restaurants and oh-so-many quotes from grumpy Uber drivers. Each of these pieces would’ve had you believe the Strip was impossible to navigate and people were miserable. Couple that with some incendiary quotes from Verstappen himself — and a damage-inducing drain cover that shut down Thursday’s practice — and those headlines finding every way to mention “gamble,” “bust,” “big bet,” “jackpot,” or any other betting term imaginable seemed to suggest this thing would be lucky to happen at all.

In response, Vegas did what it always does: put on a show. The race was exciting, including a last-lap maneuver from Charles Leclerc that left the crowd stunned and gave him a second place podium finish. Verstappen even changed his tune a bit, singing “Viva Las Vegas” and clearly enjoying himself in the champagne spray. Fans and workers alike walked away with smiles, whether they were in the grandstands, the Paddock Club, or any number of well-executed brand setups from the Red Bull Energy Station to the Heineken House (where Anderson .paak brought his DJ Pee .Wee persona to an intimate dance floor along with an open bar, food, and views of Turn 4).

Vegas being Vegas, the race had DJs, just oh-so-much wealth, plenty of gambling-themed photo opportunities, Elvises, a wedding chapel in the Paddock, Shaq (because, obviously, Shaq had to be there), celebrity chefs, exotic cars, brands, brands, and more brands, and even Rihanna.

Garrix wasn’t surprised. As someone who has had a residency in Vegas for a decade and who travels the world — he frequently pops up at F1 races — he had a perspective few others shared. He watched the construction almost weekly, and still can’t believe the staff pulled it off in just under a year. But he stressed that this is only the beginning. Vegas has a tendency to make a big plan and merely fill in the details later. With proof of concept and time to iron out wrinkles ahead of next year, the race can evolve to match the skill Verstappen desperately craves, while continuing to add the flair that only the Strip can provide. It won’t always be smooth, it won’t always make sense, and it’ll always induce an eye-roll or two to those who haven’t offered themselves over to the kitsch and absurdity of Sin City. But it won’t be boring. And the Sphere will keep watch over us all.

The Platinum-selling artist went long from a hotel suite at the Cosmopolitan on the race, his friendship with Verstappen, his love for F1, and what makes Vegas so special.

Martin Rickman: What’s your relationship like with F1?

Martin Garrix: I love F1. I love the sport. I love the adrenaline. I love just the races, and the excitement. I’ve been very lucky to be part of a lot of races around the world together with Heineken and it’s cool. I’ve known Max since, I think I was 18 and he was 16 when we met. So it’s been very cool to see him rise to the phenomenon he’s now, but also I’m close to some of the other drivers and it’s cool because we’re doing something completely opposite. They’re very healthy. There are sportsmen, and I party and am up late at night, not on a regular schedule. So it’s cool to find a balance in the middle where we can meet and there’s actually a lot of points that we can relate on, which is nice.

Your lifestyle and what you’re asked to do, it does put a lot of strain on your body and your mind — traveling at different times, meeting different people, kind of having to stay on at all times. Drivers have a similar experience in different ways. Obviously, their physical is in the car, your physical is performing. Do you find that you guys relate to each other?

Yeah, I definitely think there’s a lot of things in common. Also, depending on the team, it’s teamwork. It’s a lot of pressure because in the end, it comes up on our performance. There are a lot of people doing everything they can in advance, etc. But in the moment itself, it’s you got to do well or you f*ck up. But F1 is a top sport. They’re in an amazing shape. They’re very, very aware of sleep, alcohol, everything, which is cool. It inspires me to live more healthily and it is amazing. We get to travel the world together. I’m not doing every race, but together with Heineken I’m doing Vegas, I did Mexico recently. I’m going to do China. I’m not sure if it’s announced yet. Canada was f*cking sick.

So there’s a lot of cool things. And it’s nice because I’m close to Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris, and Max, and we’re all at races for a completely different reason. They’re there to f*cking race. I’m there to entertain the audience after the race, but it’s nice to see friends all over the world. We get to travel together and there’s a lot of connecting points where we can actually, after they did their thing, after I did my thing, we can decompress together, which is nice.

What’s the most surprising thing about those three guys that maybe people don’t know about them?

I think it’s how dedicated they are to the sport. Some people they see, oh, drivers, they show up to the race, they race. Max every time I’m with him in his free time, he’s racing on the sim. It’s the craziest thing. All he does with F1 is racing, traveling, racing. You would expect him to be home and to relax, to decompress. But he’s still racing. He’s practicing the new circuits. He’s on the sim. Same thing for Lando, same thing for Daniel, and I can relate to it with music as well. Once you have a passion for something, it doesn’t feel like work and you want to get better. You want to bring your A-game. So it’s cool to see that because what I do is completely different, but there’s some similarities in a way.

Yeah, passion is universal.

And they’re passionate as f*ck. It’s amazing.

You talked about being inspired to do more things for yourself, to kind of keep yourself right, physically, and mentally. What are some of the things that you’re trying out that you’re learning?

I think the most important thing is to have routines. Find out your routine, find stuff you like. I love playing padel [tennis]. I love windsurfing. I picked up going to the gym again. So I think it’s a few things that, and also if you start your day with a workout for the rest of the day, you’re way more productive. You feel more good about everything. And there was a few years that I missed that mindset. It happens. But no, I feel really good. I’m excited about everything. I’ll work out and for the rest of the day, I’m like this, I want to do this, this, this. I’ll be more productive in the studio, which is good.

Do you know the first race you ever went to or when that was?

I think it was Singapore, the one with Dua Lipa, yeah, in 2018. And I was playing the after-show performance. The marina and looking out on it after the stage. It was cool. And just for me too, because you watch the races on TV, to be there in person, you hear the sound of the cars. It’s like the adrenaline, there’s nothing comparing to it. It’s raw. It’s f*cking hits you.

What are you working on now that has you really excited?

Everything. I’m working on a lot of music, like crazy amounts. I’m doing a score for a TV show. I started on it last year, but then the writers’ strike happened, so everything got delayed, but now it picked up again. So that’s exciting. There’s a lot of cool Garrix stuff coming. I’m working on some stuff for other artists writing-wise. There’s a lot of stuff in the works. I’m very excited. I think I finished a follow-up for my last single, I think I finished it two days ago. But it’s nice. It’s a good feeling once you’re in the studio and you make something and you’re confident enough effort towards to be like, oh, this might be the follow-up.

You’re really familiar with Vegas, and obviously a lot of people are coming into Vegas for the first time, or they’re F1 fans who aren’t as familiar with it. What is it about Las Vegas that makes this a good destination for F1?

I think Vegas is the city of entertainment. F1, besides being a sport, has a crazy amount of entertainment as well around the race. And I think people maybe this weekend in particular have wanted F1 to fail in the city because of the preparations, because of everything. But I do think Vegas, if you look at Monaco, the race has been there for f*cking god knows how long, and you build, you grow. This race has the potential to become one of the biggest races. It would be cool if they could make some adjustments to the tracks or make it a little bit more challenging. But listen, you see some shots of the f*cking track even in qualifying, and it looked insane.

It looked like a video game. Every single shot, you’re just like, how the f*ck is this real? And I do think a lot of people around the world, they see it. They’re like, oh my god, this looks crazy. But once you’re here, once you’re actually next to the circuit, it’s just, it is wild. So I’m excited to see how Vegas will grow, how Vegas will get better, but I can’t believe the amount of work they did in the last year. I’ve been to Vegas every other weekend, so I saw the progress of them trying to fix the asphalt, building the f*cking paddock. It’s actually ridiculous how much work they got done in a year. Some people are a little bit … maybe mean is not the right word, but they’re very judgmental towards everyone. I think what they did here is monumental, and I think this could become one of the biggest races in F1.

You said you’ve known Max since he was 16. How has he changed in the time since then?

Well, the funnest thing about Max is he has not changed one single bit. Same person. He’s just obsessed with racing. Even in his free time, whenever, if I’m touring and I get home, the last thing I want to do is DJ. My brain needs a little break, and I need to decompress. Max won in the Netherlands, and I flew with him to Monaco after the race, and we were on the plane, laughing, etc. Having a good time. I was like, ‘Hey man, let’s have some drinks’ He’s like, “No, man, I’m going to go Sim race.’ I’m like, “Bro, you’ve just f*cking won. You just won the race, you lunatic!” But he is inspiring. He’s so passionate about racing. And it’s a mindset, and especially for racers much like artists, you’re by yourself, you’re solo. But I feel like racers, they’re so strict on themselves. There was one time he came in second, this was I think eight years ago, and I was like, “Hey, congrats man, congrats on the podium.” This was before he won every race. And he looks at me straight, dead serious. He’s like, “Congrats on what? I’m the first to lose.” I’m like, “What the f*ck?”

It’s crazy. That mindset. If I’m second with anything, I’m like, f*ck yeah, I’m stoked. Of course, you want to be number one, but to see it as a loss? But I think that’s what makes him, him. Same thing for Daniel, and same thing for Lando. It’s like f*cking tunnel vision, which is amazing.

This interview has been briefly condensed and edited for clarity. Uproxx Sports was invited on a hosted trip to the F1 Vegas GP through Heineken for reporting on this piece. However, Heineken did not review or approve this story in any way. You can find out more about our policy on press trips/hostings here.

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