Max Verstappen has demanded the need for greater respect from fans towards the drivers after a group of Sergio Perez fans booed him during the podium ceremony at the United States Grand Prix last weekend.
The reigning world champion claimed his 15th win of the season in Texas, seeing off the late threat of Mercedes star and former arch-rival Lewis Hamilton before the Brit was eventually disqualified after the session.
When Verstappen took to the podium to celebrate his well-earned victory at the Circuit of the Americas he was met with overwhelming booing from the crowd, many of whom were supporting his Red Bull team-mate.
While some passed this off as booing the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, Verstappen was clearly unimpressed, and that hostility is expected to be replicated again should he claim victory or return to the podium in Mexico City on Sunday.
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Addressing the situation ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1: “I’m of course here to do my job and so far the welcome I got has been amazing and always has been amazing and hopefully of course it will stay.
“But like that [message] to everyone. That’s why I also think they’re trying to promote that because it’s not something only about here. I think it’s in general in the sport right now. We gained a lot of new fans over the last few years and they might maybe respond or react a little bit different to what we had before.
“Of course, I think it’s always good to support your favourite driver but also have respect to others. In particular places, while being on the podium, when the national anthem is being sung or played, I think it’s always quite disrespectful when you start chanting through these kind of moments.
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“And that’s why I think it’s good that they (F1) are raising awareness because it’s not only in our sport, it’s a lot of different sports where people are trying to raise this kind of awareness.”
Verstappen was then asked whether he believed that most of the boos in Texas weren’t actually for him, to which he responded: “I don’t think so. It might be both ways.
“But that’s fine, it doesn’t matter if it’s now targeted to me or to whatever, a governor. I think in general [it is good] to raise awareness to any kind of driver.”
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