Lewis Hamilton said the boos he received after claiming pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix inspire him to do even better.
The buildup to qualifying this weekend has been dominated by the fallout from Hamilton’s collision with title rival Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.
Verstappen and Red Bull are still upset at the collision, the 10-second penalty Hamilton received and the exuberant celebrations of the seven-time world champion and the Mercedes team after he won the race.
The war of words has continued over the past few days, while a Red Bull appeal over the severity of Hamilton’s penalty was rejected on Thursday.
Hamilton claimed pole at Budapest, with Verstappen qualifying in third position, but was booed by the large contingent of Dutch fans sitting in the grandstand opposite the pit lane, where the media interviews took place after the session.
“I’ve never actually felt so great with the booing,” Hamilton said.
“If anything, it just fuels me. I don’t really mind it.”
Hamilton’s teammate, Bottas, said any fans who boo a driver should question why they are following Formula One.
“We are here as athletes to give everything we have for the sport we love and Lewis did an amazing lap and then you get booing, so the people should question themselves,” Bottas said.
“It is not right, it is not fair and we don’t want to see these kind of things.”
The question was put to Verstappen shortly afterwards in the news conference which follows qualifying.
When asked for his thoughts on the booing Hamilton received, he said “What do you want me to say? It’s not correct, of course, but at the end of the day we are drivers, we shouldn’t get disturbed by these kind of things.
“You should just focus on what you have to do and that’s to deliver in the car. Luckily we wear helmets so when you are driving when it matters, you don’t hear anything. That’s where we are different to other sports, so we are probably quite lucky with that.
“But like I said, it’s not nice but it shouldn’t influence any of us. We’re all professional and know what we have to do anyway.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on ESPN at 8.55AM (ET) on Sunday.