Lewis Hamilton said he hoped fans at the British Grand Prix did not boo his rival Max Verstappen, saying: “We’re better than that.”
Max received jeers from a section of the Silverstone crowd while been interviewed after qualifying second to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
Hamilton, who was booed by Verstappen fans during their title fight in 2021, said: “I would say we don’t need to do that.
“No booing. We’ve got such great fans. Our sporting fans feel emotions up and down, but I definitely don’t agree with booing.”
However, Hamilton said he understood the emotions that may have led to the booing following the controversial conclusion to last year’s championship, when Hamilton lost an eighth world title after the race director failed to apply the rules correctly in the final race of the season.
“It doesn’t make any difference when you boo someone,” he said. “They’ve already made the mistake or whatever it is, but I really do appreciate the support I have here. Maybe some of them are feeling the pain here from last year.”
The Dutchman said the behaviour of the fans “was a bit disappointing” because he could not hear the questions he was being asked by interviewer Billy Monger.
“It was a bit of a problem,” he said. “But the rest… if they want to boo, they can do that. For me it’s not going to change anything. I’m always happy to be here. It’s a great track, it’s a great atmosphere in general. Maybe some of them, they don’t like me, but that’s fine. They all have their own opinions, you know? I don’t care.”
And Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff said: “We shouldn’t be seeing booing in any sports. That is unsportsmanlike.
“We love the support the drivers have here but if you are not into the other guys, remain silent, that would be a good way. No drivers deserve it, whatever happened last year, whatever the competition is.
“Being booed is abusive and that’s why the emotional sport that is controversial because you’re a fan and not a fan of one or the other driver, that’s good – but there is a certain limit we shouldn’t overstep.”
Hamilton was in contention for fastest lap but he slipped down to fifth on the grid at the end as a result of a strategic error by the Mercedes team.
He was on a quicker lap in the dying moments of qualifying, but was told to abort it so he could charge his hybrid system’s battery for a final lap in a higher power mode.
But the rain came down more heavily in the meantime, and Hamilton could not improve.
Hamilton said: “In the rain, we were fighting for the front row, and it was all the way up to the second-to-last lap. We were up there, and I was asked to back off and go for the last lap, but then it rained. Just a bit unfortunate.
“I was so hopeful because we’ve got this incredible crowd and all of sudden I was in the fight, feeling great.
“I was second by 0.02s and I was like: ‘I can definitely go quicker than that.’ And I think I was 0.2secs up and then they said: ‘Back off and go again.’ And the next lap was not as good.”