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Formula 1

Red Bull incited boos with ‘unacceptable’ comments – Hamilton

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Lewis Hamilton believes the booing he received after qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix was incited by “unacceptable” comments by Red Bull chiefs since his clash with Formula 1 title rival Max Verstappen.

In the wake of Hamilton’s controversial collision with Verstappen, who was hit off and crashed at high-speed in the previous race in Britain, Red Bull senior personnel Helmut Marko and Christian Horner heavily criticised Hamilton’s driving.

Verstappen also labelled Hamilton’s move dangerous and said it was “disrespectful” to see the post-race celebrations given Verstappen had gone to hospital for precautionary checks.

Horner insisted ahead of the Hungarian GP that the criticism after Silverstone was not “personal” against Hamilton and claimed it would have been directed the same way against any other driver.

Mercedes disagreed and, when Red Bull’s attempt to get Hamilton’s 10-second time penalty reviewed and increased failed this week, issued a statement accusing Red Bull of a concerted attempt to tarnish Hamilton’s reputation.

Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Hungarian GP F1

After taking pole position at the Hungaroring on Saturday, Hamilton was loudly booed by fans in the grandstands.

“It’s not a surprise to me given the things that have been said from the heads of that team that have incited that,” said Hamilton, who was racially abused on social media after the British GP as well.

“Over this break people really need to look within the things that have been said, because it is unacceptable the things that have been said – on top of that, the things that have escalated, the fire that it’s caused.

“They’ve just had to fire someone [Red Bull parted company with a former employee who used racist language in messages that appeared online]. I don’t know who it was about, it doesn’t matter who it was about.

“If I pass it to my friend or my father or my brother, we all feel that pain of what they meant by those words.

“I’m really proud of my team for staying focused during this time because it has been a whirlwind of emotions and things coming at us in all different directions.

“But we’ve kept our heads down and come here and delivered and I am really, really proud of everybody.”

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 Hungarian GP

Hamilton suggested the situation would benefit from some “strong talks” over the next few weeks but didn’t elaborate with whom or in what context.

He said he has never booed anyone in another sport even if he wants one team to win more than another, though admitted he has grown up with it being more prevalent.

His team boss Toto Wolff shared the view that the boos were a “consequence of the events of the last few weeks” and a “polarising” incident that ”ignited” emotional responses.

Wolff described booing as an “archaic” part of sport and said that while tribal loyalties needn’t be a negative thing in F1, this goes too far.

“Emotions have been very high in the last two weeks and the grandstands are packed with Dutch fans,” said Wolff.

“Nobody likes that and people that have done sports competitively will never understand why that is.

“But you hear that in football stadiums and you hear that in the grandstands and it was an orange grandstand.”

Toto Wolff Mercedes F1 Hungarian GP

Wolff added: “The booing is a somehow archaic instinct that shouldn’t be part of the sport but it also shows how passionate the fans are.

“A tribal instinct isn’t necessarily something bad. I very much have that instinct for the team, too.

“If it were tribal, if they were passionate, if they were applauding and screaming for the drivers, that would be great.

“The booing has no place in sport.”

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