Verstappen not calling for booing retaliation
"Maybe some of them don’t like me, but that’s fine"
Max Verstappen says he is not bothered that large sections of the crowd at Silverstone this weekend are booing him at every opportunity.
The reigning world champion was booed on his track walk on Thursday, again when he threw Red Bull t-shirts into the crowd later on, and most prominently after qualifying second for Sunday’s British GP.
The suspicion is that the partisan British crowd is still unhappy about last year’s crash with Lewis Hamilton and the controversial outcome of the 2021 world title.
Many fans have also admitted their anger that Red Bull and Verstappen have been quiet in their condemnation of Nelson Piquet over last week’s ’N-word’ saga.
Even so, Hamilton said he was uncomfortable with the booing.
"I think we’re better than that," he said. "They shouldn’t do that.
"Of course fans feel emotions and some may still feel the pain from last year and I appreciate the support I get. But I don’t agree."
Even Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff spoke out against the fans’ behaviour at Silverstone.
"It is unsportsmanlike," he is quoted by the Dutch publication Formule 1.
"The enthusiasm from the fans and the support for Lewis here is fantastic, but if you like someone a little less, just shut up.
"No driver deserves something like that, regardless of what happened last year and in any competition. There are limits."
Red Bull’s Verstappen said the booing after qualifying was "a bit disappointing" because he struggled to hear the questions asked by Billy Monger, a British driver who lost his legs in a Formula 4 crash in 2017.
"But for the rest, if they want to boo, they can do that," said the Dutchman. "I mean, it’s not going to change anything for me.
"Maybe some of them don’t like me, but that’s fine. They all have their own opinions. I don’t care."
Verstappen’s boss Christian Horner called the booing "unusual" for a British crowd, "but it’s something he accepts".
"Next weekend, I know that there’s going to be a lot of support," he said, referring to the team’s home race in Austria. "He has massive support wherever we go around the world. So you know, it’s one of those things."
Verstappen was more forthright about his feelings in conversation with the Dutch press, but he said he doesn’t want his own legions of fans to retaliate in Austria next weekend.
"Again, it doesn’t bother me," he told De Telegraaf newspaper.
"So they don’t have to do that for me. It’s not like it gives me extra power or anything like that."
However, he also warned the fans at Silverstone to keep their hostility to the grandstands, as he is staying in a motorhome in the paddock this weekend.
"If they bother me there, I will kick them away. It is what it is," Verstappen said.
"It’s quite new that things like this are happening in Formula 1, but I focus on what I have to do - go fast on the track.
"I’m not the type to force someone to speak out against it either. But if it had been the other way around, I would get a hundred questions from the English press about that.
"Here, I get one," he concluded.