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Hamilton condemns booing of Verstappen

NEWS STORY
03/07/2022

Lewis Hamilton has hit out at fans who booed Max Verstappen, the Briton insisting "we're better than that".

The booing mostly occurred during the post-qualifying trackside interviews. While the fans cheered pole-winner Carlos Sainz and his Ferrari teammate, Charles Leclerc, a large section of the crowd booed when Verstappen stepped forward to be interviewed by Billy Monger.

Hamilton subsequently condemned the crowd's reaction.

"I think we are better than that," said the Briton. "I would say we don't need to do booing, but we have got such great fans and our sporting fans, they feel emotions, ups and downs, but I definitely don't agree with booing.

"I don't think we need to do that," he insisted. "It doesn't make any difference when you boo someone either, they have already made the mistakes or whatever it is.

"But I really do appreciate the support I have had here. I don't know, maybe some of them are still feeling the pain from last year still. Either way, I don't agree."

The reference to "last year" was no doubt the events of Abu Dhabi when "human error" involving the race director saw an almost certain win - and eighth title - for Hamilton turned on its head in Verstappen's favour.

The Dutchman himself appeared not to be bothered by the booing... most likely because the boot will be on the other foot at Zandvoort in early September.

Asked about the booing, the Red Bull driver said: "It was a bit disappointing, because I couldn't really understand Billy, and it was a bit of a problem.

"But the rest, I mean, if they want to boo, they do that. I mean, for me, it's not going to change anything. I am happy to always be here. It's a great track, it's great atmosphere in general.

"Maybe some of them, they don't like me, but I mean, that's fine. They all have their own opinions. I don't care."

However, before the booing came the large cheer when the Dutchman spun on his first flying laps during the final stage of qualifying.

"We shouldn't be seeing any booing in any sports," said Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff. "I think that's unsportsmanlike.

"It's clear that we love the support the drivers have here and the team, that's fantastic, and the enthusiasm. But if you're not into the other guys, just remain silent. That would be a good way.

"The booing, I think none of the drivers deserve any booing whatever happened last year, whatever the competition is."

Other than the events of 2021 which have clearly spilled over, at a time George Russell is calling for booing to be banned, it should not be forgotten that in the days of Nigel Mansell's rivalry with Ayrton Senna, some in the Silverstone crowd waved banners - Brazil Nut being an example - which would be considered offensive today, while when Michael Schumacher crashed on the opening lap of the 1999 Grand Prix parts of the crowd cheered.

Fact is that some of the rhetoric we've witnessed over the last couple of seasons, particularly from the likes of Wolff and Christian Horner, combined with the toxicity of social media, has led to motor sport witnessing the same sort of divisiveness that is creeping into almost every other part of society. Indeed, in many ways, booing is the very least we should expect.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone here.

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1. Posted by francisn, 03/07/2022 17:27

"I was there in 1999. The ones who booed when Michael crashed were soon shut up. Would hate it if that spirit is no longer there. Respect to all the drivers."

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