Tue. Sep 28th, 2021

Mercedes blame comments made by Red Bull bosses for the booing and backlash aimed at Lewis Hamilton since the British Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion was the target of intense criticism and abuse, some racial, on social media after colliding with Max Verstappen at Silverstone.

Then, after taking pole position in Hungary on Saturday, portions of the Hungaroring crowd were heard jeering Hamilton, perhaps partially caused by perceived delaying tactics prior to the final run of Q3.

“I don’t normally [talk] about this kind of thing, what I think, but I heard a lot of booing at end of qualifying and I don’t understand it,” Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas commented.

“I would like the people to question themselves and the behaviour, which I don’t think is fair.

“We are here as athletes to give every single thing we have to the sport we love, and Lewis did an amazing lap at the end and then you get booing.

“So, the people, just question yourself; it’s not right, it’s not fair and we don’t want to see this kind of thing.”

The assumption is most of those booing Hamilton are Verstappen fans, and before the weekend began, Mercedes were highly critical of Red Bull bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko for stirring up the animosity.

“I think the comments that were made [after Silverstone], surely out of emotion, were going directly against a seven-time world champion,” Toto Wolff told Sky Sports.

“Words like ‘amateurish” should have no place and what it triggered was an avalanche of comments in the social media, a lot of controversy added to the further polarisation and I think we as a sport should do the contrary. We should de-escalate.”

Even though Hamilton addressed those booing him in Parc Ferme, claiming the reaction “fuelled” him, he too also pointed the finger at Red Bull for stirring tensions.

“It’s not a surprise to me given the things that have been said from the heads of that team that have incited that, right?” he said via Formula1.com.

“I think over this [summer] break people really need to look within in the things that have been said because it is unacceptable the things that have [been] said and on top of that the things that have escalated.

“We’ve got to continue to stay positive. I’m really proud of my team for staying so focused during this time because it’s 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.”

Hamilton also called on those within F1 to maintain a level of respect.

“I’m a sporting fan. I’ve never booed any other team in any other sport because it’s just not in my character,” he added.

“We do have to be so careful with our words because there are young kids watching and we are supposed to be shining a light, encouraging people and spreading positivity.

“Leaders of this industry need to be leaders. They have people following them and kids following them. As a sport we’ve got a responsibility, so there should be some strong talks probably over the next weeks.

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