Lewis Hamilton has shrugged off boos he received during his pole qualification in Hungary, saying they only give him added motivation.
It was an excellent day on the track for Mercedes following a Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas one-two, with Hamilton’s championship rival Max Verstappen qualifying in third.
However, the seven-time and reigning world champion faced raucous boos from the grandstands at the Hungaroring, populated by a large contingent of Dutch fans.
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It was the first event since the hugely controversial British Grand Prix, which saw Red Bull’s Belgian-Dutch driver Verstappen collide with Hamilton before spinning off the track.
The Brit went on to win at Silverstone despite a penalty, and the Dutch contingent in Budapest voiced their displeasure to Hamilton as he spoke to reporters after qualifying.
“Honestly, I've never actually felt so great with the booing,” Hamilton told Sky Sports after the session.
“If anything it just fuels me. So I don't really mind it.
It was an amazing qualifying lap that last one. Amazing team work from everyone this weekend, trying to push the car forward developing constantly. It has been amazing to see everyone rallying together. Great having a front row lockout for our team, first time for a long time.
The 36-year-old discussed the jeers further in the post-session press conference.
He said: “That's sport, right? And people act wild when it's sport, it's competition, and I don't take it to heart.
“I must be doing something right to be up front. It's pretty good for me otherwise.”
Mercedes team-mate Bottas took a more abrasive stance, expressing his disappointment at the behaviour of the crowd.
“I don't normally say about these kind of things what I think, but I heard a lot of booing at the end of the qualifying. I don't understand it,” the Finnish driver said.
I would like the people to question themselves, their behaviour, because I don't think it's fair. We are here as athletes to give every single bit we have for the sport we love. Lewis did an amazing lap at the end and then you get booing. So I think the people, just question yourself, it's not right, it's not fair and we don't want to see these kind of things.
Hamilton currently trails Verstappen by eight points in the drivers' championship, teeing up one of the most exciting conclusions to an F1 season in years.
The bubbling rivalry between Mercedes and Red Bull boiled over at Silverstone following the dramatic collision of the leading pair, with Verstappen tweeting after the race that Hamilton’s celebrations were ‘disrespectful and unsportsmanlike’.
When asked once more about the incident in a press conference following qualifying, a frustrated Verstappen shut down the line of questioning.
"Can we already stop with this?" he fumed. "we've had so many ****ing questions about this. It's ridiculous."
"The whole of Thursday we've been answering this stupid s**t all the time. Can we just stop, please?"
However, the 23-year-old did condemned the booing of his rival, though asserted that ‘it shouldn’t influence’ any driver.
He said: “It’s not correct, of course, but at the end of the day we are drivers, you shouldn’t get disturbed by these kind of things.
You should just focus on what you have to do and that’s deliver in the car. Luckily, of course, we wear helmets when you’re driving, where it matters you don’t hear anything. That’s maybe a bit different to other sports so probably we are quite lucky with that.
“It’s not nice but it shouldn’t influence any of us. I think we’re all very professional and know what we have to do on track anyway.”
The Hungarian GP is set to begin at 2pm BST tomorrow.
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23/06/2022 AT 16:11