Bottas takes aim at hostile F1 crowd

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. Picture: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Twitter

Valtteri Bottas took issue with the treatment of Lewis Hamilton by the crowd following qualifying for the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Following Saturday afternoon’s session, the seven-time world champion was booed as he climbed from his Mercedes.

The treatment continued while speaking with Johnny Herbert for his post-session interview, despite the three-time race winner’s attempts to calm the boisterous reception.

It was enough to prompt Bottas to come to the defence of his Mercedes team-mate, condemning the behaviour.

“I don’t normally say about these kinds of things, or what I think, but I heard a lot of booing at the end of the qualifying and I didn’t understand it,” he said.

“I would like the people to question themselves, that behaviour, because I don’t think it’s fair.

“We are here as an athlete to give every single bit we have for the sport we love.

“Lewis, he did an amazing lap at the end and then you get booing, so I think the people [need to] question yourself.

“I think it’s not right, it’s not fair, and we don’t want to see these kinds of things.”

During the interview with Herbert, Hamilton acknowledged the crowd’s hostility.

“Honestly I’ve never actually felt so great with the booing,” he quipped.

“If anything, it just fuels me, so I don’t really mind it.”

Speaking during the post-qualifying press conference soon after, his view had become somewhat more philosophical.

“People have a right to the sport, and people act wild when it’s sport,” he reasoned.

“It’s competition, I don’t take it to heart. I must be doing something right to be up front.”

Verstappen, with whom Hamilton’s rivalry has stepped up in recent weeks, shared Bottas’ opinion.

“It’s not correct, of course, but at the end of the day I think we are drivers, we shouldn’t get disturbed by these kind of things,” he said.

“You should anyway just focus on what you have to do and that’s deliver in the car.

“Luckily we wear helmets actually when we’re driving. Where it matters, you don’t hear anything.

“That’s maybe a bit different to other sports, and probably were quite lucky with that, but like I said, 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.”

Pole position in qualifying was the 101st of Hamilton’s career, and his eighth at the Hungaroring, with Bottas to start alongside him on the front row.

The Hungarian Grand Prix gets underway at 23:00 AEST tonight.

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