Formula 1 has been concerned with the behavior of fans during the last two weekends in Silverstone and Austria. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fans have shown some hostility towards their opponents, with several complaints about abuse and harassment surfacing. F1 has expressed their concerns, and the teams called the affected fans to watch the race from the team garage. The fans’ disrespectful reactions to their opponents have not set a good example of a respectful rivalry that motorsport intends to represent. The controversy started last year when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had an extremely close fight for the 2021 championship.
Max managed to win the title in the last lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi amid a controversial decision from the sacked F1 race director Michael Masi. There was a great deal of tension among the fans as the decision resulted in hamilton missing out on his eighth championship title. However, the British fans were still mad about the rivalry and launched a chorus of boos at Verstappen during his interview in Silverstone. The Dutch fans gave it back in Austria by cheering when Lewis Hamilton crashed during Q3. Both Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen have condemned the hostile and disrespectful reactions from the crowd. But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had a harsh reaction to the issue and called for extreme measures from F1.
Verstappen Requests Fans To Respect Their Opponents
Recently, Max Verstappen urged his fans to calm down and be respectful while talking about the incidences in Silverstone and Austria. Talking to F1-Insider, the Dutchman said the fans in the grandstand decides the atmosphere in every country. And there is a healthy mix of individual fan groups in other parts of the track.
However, Verstappen told that it was a shame to see F1 fans behave like football fans as they boo at their opponents. Max mentioned that Lewis was booed in the Netherlands while he was booed in England. The Red Bull driver thought it was a pity as the two rivals fight hard and showcase high-quality fights. But, at the same time, Max felt one needs to have respect for their opponent.
Verstappen further shared that he is a PSV fan. However, when he sees a great football match, he enjoys it whether his team wins or not. The Red Bull driver stated that it would be nicer if the fans behave the same way in F1. He added, “And, despite all the rivalry, opponents are also treated with respect.”
There might still be some tension between Verstappen and Hamilton after they fought hard and ended up making contacts several times last season. But, they are a little far from battling on the field with Mercedes’ porpoising troubles this year. Verstappen has been preoccupied with the task of keeping ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Meanwhile, Hamilton struggled with the new W13, which restricted him from a fight for a win. However, the Briton has got three podiums in the last three races. And with things finally going Mercedes’ way, we can expect a Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fight coming ahead in the second half of the season soon.