- • Joined ESPN in 2009
• An FIA accredited F1 journalist since 2011
ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — Max Verstappen says title rival Lewis Hamilton will receive a hostile reception at this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, but says it is not up to him to tell his home fans not to boo the Mercedes driver.
After a collision between the two drivers at the British Grand Prix, Hamilton was booed by travelling Dutch fans at the Hungaroring in early August and at Spa-Francorchamps this past weekend.
In Hungary, Hamilton shrugged off the booing by saying it “fuels” him to push harder in the title fight.
Asked whether he wanted to send a message to fans at Zandvoort to show more respect for his title rival this weekend, Verstappen said the booing was inevitable.
“I look at it like this, when you go to a football match, you come into the home ground, the opposition will be booed at some point and it’s not up to the local club to go on to the speakers and say ‘guys, you cannot boo,’ as it will naturally happen,” Verstappen said.
“Also in football, they are very passionate and they support their local team.
“I don’t think it’s up to me to then say ‘guys you cannot boo’ because at the end of the day I am not them and I have to just focus on what I am doing on the track. I am pretty sure that most of them are here for a great weekend to see cars racing and of course, some of them will boo.
“I cannot decide for them. Like you say you can do it and say ‘you cannot do this’, but do you really think they’re going to listen to me? I just hope that they will have a good weekend.”
But Verstappen said he did not view the booing as support for him.
“That would be bad if that would give me an added boost,” he added. “As long as it doesn’t affect Lewis, I guess that’s what you want to hear, right?
“That’s the most important. What I hope from the whole weekend is that everyone is having a good time and they enjoy seeing the cars on the track, seeing us battle it out there for the best possible result.”
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