Ibrahimovic was among the celebrities on the grid before the glitzy race in Nevada. The former Manchester United striker was instantly recognisable amid the chaos before the race and he nailed his colours to the mast in a chat with Sky Sports.
When asked by reporter Martin Brundle what he made of the set-up in Las Vegas, Ibrahimovic said: “It looks good, it’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to the race. Ferrari is my team.” Brundle then suggested that Ibrahimovic must have a few Ferraris in his collection, he replied laughing: “Yes, several of them.”
He enjoyed mixing with Ferrari, posing for a photo with the engineers and posting a video on Twitter which simply read: “My mechanics”. But it wasn’t to be Ferrari’s weekend, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen once again claiming victory.
Ibrahimovic is clearly enjoying his retirement, having called time on his illustrious career in June. The 41-year-old, who is Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 matches, started out with Malmo in 1999 and played at the highest level right until the end with AC Milan.
But his presence couldn’t inspire Ferrari to a win as Charles Leclerc could only secure second place after an action-packed race. Meanwhile, team-mate Carlos Sainz had his weekend ruined by a 10-place grid penalty, which ensured he would never compete for the win.
Leclerc believes that the second safety car spoiled his party in Las Vegas. “Mixed emotions,” he said. “On one hand, I’m extremely happy with today’s performance. I think we didn’t leave anything on the table and until the very last lap of the last corner I gave it my all and managed to get that second place,” said Leclerc.
“On the other hand, disappointed because I really believe that without the Safety Car, the win was ours. We had a really good first stint on the medium and we had five laps’ newer hards than Max. I had a good four or five laps in order to bring them into temperature and we had done a really good job on that, so I was really confident that the win was ours.
“Then there was unfortunately the Safety Car. Max and Checo stopped, I stayed on my five-lap used hard tyres. It’s not too much, five laps, but the problem is that when you cool them down during the Safety Car to restart, to restart a used tyre is incredibly difficult with those temperatures.
“Then we lost the race. But, I think the last part of the race was extremely fun and that gave me a lot of adrenaline inside the car and I really enjoyed it.”