Hamilton says he ‘doesn’t understand’ booing

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton shrugged off the negative reception he received following his victory in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix but admitted he doesn’t understand why spectators boo some drivers.

Hamilton and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas were booed throughout the podium ceremony after finishing first and third respectively, separated by Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Asked in the post-race press conference whether he considers it acceptable behaviour Hamilton stopped short of criticising Ferrari’s supporters but said it isn’t something he does.

“I think it’s acceptable. It’s done in every sport. If I’m really honest, I don’t understand it.

“I’ve been to football games, I’ve been to NFL games, I’ve been to basketball games and rugby games. I’ve never booed an opposing team even if it was against my team. And none of my friends do either so I don’t get the psyche of it.”

Hamilton, who scored a record-equalling fifth Italian Grand Prix win yesterday, said he drew strength from the negative reaction he received.

“In the arena that we’re in, it is very easy to allow it to get to you, to allow it to have an impact on your life and have you think about it, all these different things. But it is also quite easy to harness it and use it and that gave me so much motivation today. I welcome it. If they want to continue to do it, that just empowers me.”

Hamilton has previously urged his own supporters not to boo his rivals, such as Nico Rosberg. He added his appreciation for his fans who had come to Ferrari’s home race to support him.

“I know I’ve got those individuals who are out there who travel the world to support me. I know they’re there. Really proud of them.

“Obviously when you’re in a big crowd, a big sea of red and there’s the booing and then there’s you with the one flag… you know you notice there’s one guy standing there with a flag or there’s a kid waving it and you can imagine being surrounded by that, feeling the heat on him, because all eyes are on him or her. I really just appreciate that and respect it so much.

“So I really do try, like on the podium and on the parade lap and when I was driving round, to point out… it’s hard to point to a big crowd and them know that you’re pointing at them but I try to point out and know that I acknowledge them and appreciate them.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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85 comments on “Hamilton says he ‘doesn’t understand’ booing”

  1. I can understand him.

    1. Thats him when he win. But when he lose, he will be other way around, he will criticise. Like what he claimed lastweek Belgium gp, ferarri are cheating, he accused ferarri used “trick” to keep SV win. Typical LH.

      1. I’m no fan of Hamilton but I think the word ‘tricks’ was misinterpreted. The mistake he perhaps made was to use an ambiguous term that could so easily be misconstrued. He didn’t mean tricks as a euphemism for cheating, because Charlie Whiting is fully au fait with what is on the Ferrari car and he’s happy with it. This was tricks as in ‘clever’ details. Tricky to figure out. Things the other teams haven’t developed yet.

    2. It’s quite simple Lewis, it means they don’t like you.

      1. No. It’s Ferrari fans mentality and culture. Now they love Vettel, but they booed him in 2013 too. I think it’s sad, but that’s how they roll. Tifosi don’t care about a basic respect for the winner if he’s not wearing red.

        1. I don’t like it myself, but I _am_ Italian, and I _do_ understand where it comes from, and how you are misinterpreting (understandably) what is really happening.

          Basically, it’s not about “lack of respect for opposing winners”, it’s simply hearty “tifo”. Some people do let it fall into disrespect, but that’s usually football fans that are generally more likely uncouth to start with.

          Each country has a different way of being fans.

  2. It was a bit of a farcical booing though. I mean, why boo the guy who beat your guy fair and square ? But like he said, as long as it stops at booing, it’s something we can live with.

    1. @tango
      I agree with the fair and square part. If your team gets beat fair then that’s sport, go home.

      I think booing should be saved for BS. If Hamilton had given Vettel a NASCAR spin then booing would have been perfect.

      But yeah, booing at a solid drive like that? It just reflects poorly on the fans.

    2. I don’t think the booing had anything to do with him winning…. it was probably more about his character in general which I can understand.

  3. Yes, it is wrong, but Ferrari drivers were booed at Silverstone and there was no problem. Same thing happened to Rosberg and he wasn’t concerned by that. Also, after suggesting foul play after the British GP, he didn’t help himself as well, so shouldn’t be too surprised at what happened.

    1. If you bothered reading the article, you would have known that you were wrong.

      Hamilton has previously urged his own supporters not to boo his rivals, such as Nico Rosberg.

      It’s mentioned in the article, along with a link.

      1. OK, my mistake about Rosberg. I missed that.

    2. I was at Silverstone and there was no booing?? Where did you read about or imagine that?

    3. People always say there was booing for Ferrari in Silverstone but as someone who was there I honestly didn’t hear any.

  4. Let them boo. Who cares.

    “Keep movin’, movin’, movin’
    Though they’re disapprovin’
    Keep them dogies movin’, rawhide
    Don’t try to understand ’em
    Just rope ’em, throw, and brand ’em
    Soon we’ll be livin’ high and wide
    My heart’s calculatin’
    My true love will be waitin’
    Be waitin’ at the end of my ride”

    1. I really wasn’t expecting a Blues Brothers reference – good man Bart.

      1. And I wasn’t expecting the Blues Brothers, this was just a slab of Rawhide. But they do fit the image ;)

    2. WooooPahhhh!!!

    3. Excellent, Bart! +1

  5. Mercedes drivers get booed at Ferrari’s backyard, and it’s almost like they weren’t expecting it. I don’t personally see too much of a problem with it as long as it doesn’t escalate into hooliganism like it does in some other sports, namely football.

    1. It just seems moronic on behalf of the fans. If a driver has done something particularly underhand then I can sort of understand the fans voicing their disapproval. However simply booing someone for being part of a different team or country is moronic and normally reserved only for football. Imagine if we did this at Wimbledon? It would be generally two weeks of solid booing…

      However I would have simply stood their smiling at the thought that I had upset the morons by simply being better than their man.

      1. However simply booing someone for being part of a different team or country is moronic and normally reserved only for football.

        Why do you expect F1 fans to be any different from football (American and association), baseball, hockey etc. fans?

        1. @mbr-9 Because there’s a heightened element of risk involved in Formula 1? And with that, maybe, there should be a basic level of respect for rivals? Something Italian fans can’t attain apparently.

    2. In terms of sentiment, booing and hooliganism aren’t that far apart. Both are done by people who are moved by the worst parts of their humanity. Not sure why people are saying this is okay.

      1. @maichael

        Humans are naturally cruel too. I think Lewis could have a lot harder time if he met the ‘worst of humanity’. He really doesn’t help himself with some of his comments. He is a lot nicer person than some of the rubbish he comes out with fuelled by arrogance and ego. Not that’s a rare occurance in motorsport.

    3. @brickles

      Hooliganism in F1 would go as far as knocking a rival fan’s flag out the way with cheeky smiles, already seen it happen.
      Formula 1 is emotional and egotistical on an individual basis.
      Hooliganism in football is tribal and an actual movement giving young men with issues a purpose evoking the mob mentality.
      Chalk and Cheese.

  6. It’s ironic that Ferrari fans made this Hamilton cry baby poster thing…then after the race, spent the whole time booing and moaning. Ferrari have clearly backed the wrong horse, they should see out Vettel’s contract then try and court Hamilton. They are actually a match made in heaven. Hamilton is a superstar, Ferrari is a super brand. He’s cool, Ferrari are cool. They look competitive so they need to get him in their stable and poach him away from Mercedes, he’ll give them that extra bit of speed and race craft. I can’t help but think if Hamilton was in the red car, he would be walking away with this championship and people would be saying it’s all the car haha.

    1. @wrighty88

      Not sure about that.
      Firstly Mercedes are the better team. This weekend was almost childs play, like they’ve been bluffing all along.
      Unless Ferrari go back to hiring The Brawns and Todts, Hamilton will get let down just like Alonso was and Vettel is.
      Ferrari dropped the ball last season and this weekend. Vettel would thrive at Mercedes. I would say bring on the swap and Vettel would add to his championships. Whilst Hamilton earns appreciation becoming another ‘nearly man’ for Ferarri.

      Also, Vettel is quite passionate and suits Ferrari too. Learning some of the language and singing along to the anthem whilst at Mercedes there’s zero passion in the same context.
      If you can imagine Lewis speaking Italian and singing the anthem, then yeah that’s cool.
      Mercedes love his ‘street’ image partly to sell more cars after decades of being ‘an old man’ brand.

      Shame they got caught che@ting emissions and price fixing. Booooo

      1. @bigjoe

        Firstly, I think Mercedes are the better team in terms of strategy but their car is inferior at the moment for sure. I wouldn’t call it childs play. Ferrari had two cars up there, Bottas who isn’t a bad driver was no where all weekend. The best thing he did all race was get overtaken by Max at the start so he was far back enough to hold up Kimi.

        I see what you’re saying but if Lewis wins the WDC this year, then going into 2020 if I were him no matter what happens in 2019, I’d be looking at a Ferrari drive. It’s what all the drivers really want, to get the chance to win it all with Ferrari is a dream. Vettel is passionate but in general I’d say he fits Mercedes’ image more. But I can understand why Lewis is changing the Mercedes brand but his lifestyle is much more “Ferrari” rather than the clean cut and rather sterile Mercedes look.

        1. @wrighty88

          The clean cut images were at McLaren where Alonso was told to dress smart and get his hair cut and look more business-like. He went from Tennis player long hair and head-band to short hair and smart white shirts and allegedly told to tuck them in by Ron Dennis.
          Lewis also sported his smartest hair style in a basic crew-cut. I don’t think he would look or act any different from Mercedes to Ferrari. His seemingly prefered ‘hip hop’ dress sense livens up Mercedes but I think would look trashy in Italy. He likes his clothes so could probably embrace the more sophisticated look of the mature mainland Europeans, so I think he would be cool if he did that, not the gold chains and ripped jeans that help sell Mercs to a younger demograph.

      2. @bigjoe
        I don’t say Ferrari are pitwall masters, but neither Mercedes are. At the beginning of seasons Mercedes pitwall got fooled many times by Ferrari and RBR. Australia, China, Bahrain to the point that Hamilton and Wolf urged the team to improve their strategy. In Austria James Vowles apologized publicly to Lewis Hamilton for the decision of not pitting under the VSC. In this weekend, it was almost a childplay because Vettel was out of contention and Wingman Bottas was just slowing Raikkonen as he did with Vettel in Hungary. Let’s see how good they are in Singapore when they will be trailing both Ferraris in the race (of course if they don’t crash each other in the first lap).

        1. @tifoso1989

          That’s what I meant though. It felt like they’d been bluffing all along. Where as we can always rely on Ferrari to drop the ball, since and before the Brawn and Todt era.

    2. Interesting Idea!

  7. I don’t like this kind of behavior but I can understand it. Tifosi were expecting a 1-2 and received just a second place and more ground lost in both championships. They were angry and seeing what Mercedes has done with Bottas didn’t help. Their parade lap at the end neither. It needs just a couple of hours and some racing highlights to understand that Lewis did everything perfectly fine, Seb basically killed his race – not to mention the championship – and Kimi cooked his tires. But again, under the podium, there was no time for reasoning.

    We Italians tend to overreact and this happens in every possible way.

    1. @m-bagattini

      The world feed I watched showed a whole hoard of Italian fans smiling and applauding Kimi as he warmed down the car at the end.

      I’ll take the Italian passion over the German dullness any day. Although admittedly Schumacher fans shooting off fireworks over the track whilst swilling beer wasn’t dull.

      1. There were audio signatures on the world feed highly reminiscent of frequencies being reduced in volume quite significantly – I suspect the booing was being filtered down and pictures cherry picked to represent the sport in the very best possible light

    2. @m-bagattini As well as I agree that this parade lap (and moreover the engineer’s comment) was childish and unnecessary, booing competitors because they did well is absolutely low. I can understand booing for a race like 2005 USA to express a disagreement though.

      1. @bigjoe @spoutnik there are things that done inside your borders are perfectly normal. In an international contest, you should behave differently; our people are not well informed about international customs, etiquette, etc. We don’t know English very well, for instance. My compatriots were just being themselves. I know it’s difficult to understand from the outside, but I sincerely believe that Italian authenticity goes from inviting you to dinner at mom’s just because you asked where’s the best place to eat in town to this kind of despicable behavior. We just don’t see the booing as something that grave: it’s seen as part of the game. You see this kind of naive behavior everywhere we go: clapping when a plane lands, asking for a beer while traveling in a Muslim country, hugging a Japanese and so on.

  8. There will always be that unsportive guy nearby. Last time I went to see a basketball match someone in the other team’s supporters had a big drum and was making a huge noise every time the other team had to make free throws to undermine the concentration. Pretty lame if you ask me.

    1. @spoutnik

      That’s nothing comapared to what I’ve seen and something the player in Basketball can learn to override. Footballers get continual abuse throughout a game and the players are active in abusing each other too to put each other off.

      Back in the Australian Rugby world cup, Australian fans assembled in the middle of the night with trumpets to sleep deprive the England team. This has happened again since in several tournaments most recently in the Russia Football world cup.
      In Cricket the Australian media actively encouragage the abuse of the England team with several campaigns in the past such as the sleep deprivations.
      I think Hamilton has it very easy in comparison.

      1. @bigjoe wow, sleep deprive, how ugly it is! I’m not into other sports actually, and this kind of atmosphere and behavior is certainly part of my dislike. Fortunately as you said the F1 fans look a tad bit more civilized and fairplay.

      2. To give a good example as well, the football team that I support (Futebol Clube de Famalicão) had their players arrange a meeting and went to the house of the the guy that founded the fans club and chanted the songs that he help create.

        Of course those guys boo the opposing team, but it is part of the game and around here no one takes offense out of it. I either have a completely different experience when attending sports events or I need to form a stronger opinion on the matters

    2. @spoutnik I agree with you.

      As for F1, it is not just the booing and Hamilton is clearly not the only driver, who has to face it. You can often see similar behaviour on the social media. For instance, read comments at Bottas’s Instagram post yesterday… There are a lot of fans, who try to understand the sport or simply enjoy the racing but there are also many, who do not care much about details, facts or the sport in general. They are here mainly to support one driver or one team, everything else does not matter much to them. For sure, one can ignore the big picture and still have a positive attitude. But very often that is not the case.

      I remember how one Hamilton fan reacted when I posted a link to an interview with Lewis on Twitter, pointing out his intelligent, well-considered answers. Instead of praising his favourite driver, he started to complain about how media never recognises how smart Hamilton is. He managed to turn even a positive event into bile.

      For sure, comments such as ‘Hamilton have a new dog Valterrier’ and booing are relatively harmless – but that does not make these things right.

  9. Come on Lewis you are naive if you don’t why. You just beat the Ferraris in front of the Tifosi. Similarly to Sliverstone where Vettel won and he was booed as well.

    1. And took a Ferrari out in the first lap. Clearly the fans cant see all angles and it is easy to feel disadvantaged with HAM being able to continue and VET in last place

      1. I am a fan of HAM the racer but he is such a calculative poser off track that it is almost impossible to like the guy

        1. I agree on that. Lewis a beast on track but his personality outside of the car doesn’t compliment his driving that much.

        2. This.

          If I would have only watched the race I would have concluded he was an awesome bloke who gave his 110% to finish 1% infront of Kimi.

          On the podium I would have seen a man possesed by spirit of Senna before him, shaken to the core while pushing to extract a perfect race.

          But then he opened his mouth. All I heard was a dumbass.

          But hey luckilly for him ability of speach does not correlate with racing ability.

  10. I don’t see the fuss about it, I personally don’t do it either, but it shows passion, so I really don’t get why he doesn’t understand it or why people feel it is so wrong. There is someone above saying that booing and hooliganism aren’t that far apart, that can’t be true surely, at least not how I experienced sports events.

    And if he says that it is something that motivates him, what is the point of complaining about it? Take it in, shut it and drive, he is doing a good job of the latter, spare us of the rest Luís

    1. @johnmilk The late Dale Earnhardt said that it doesn’t matter wether the crowd are cheering or booing, as long as they’re making noise.

      And in my experience being to many hockey, football, and lacrosse games, it’s normal for the home crowd to boo the away team. I don’t see what gets F1 fans upset about it.

  11. Not justificating them but at least they have a reason, you know? Another beat them, and they are a passionate bunch the tifosi. A few years ago Vettel was booed for absolutely no reason at all everywhere… That was even worse, i feel.

    1. I Melbourne this year Hamilton was very loudly booed by the Ferrari fans. He came second. I am there with my 13 year old son who loves the sport and sportsmanship and these clowns were booing 2nd place. These rude Italians are not just in Italy

      1. The vast majority of Tifosi in Melbourne are NOT Italian.

  12. If you’re not in red then you’re the pantomime villain.

    I don’t they harbor any genuine malice towards non-Ferrari drivers. I think it’s just playful booing.

    1. *I don’t think they harbor any genuine malice towards non-Ferrari drivers.

  13. Let them boo. It’s mostly harmless fun, I don’t imagine there’s a great degree of hate behind it, just people not being very sporting.

    The cry baby poster was fairly pathetic, but Hamilton answered that in emphatic style.

  14. It all comes down to managing expectations, Ferrari fans seemed to unrealistically expect a 1-2 finish, whether it was based on misinformation or blind faith i dont know, but when the result didnt materialise, they got upset.

    1. It was not that unrealistic this year. Pretty certain Vettel would have won had he been ahead by the end of lap 1.

  15. He doesn’t understand the booing but I’m sure he understands the order from Mercedes to drive in formation after winning. I mean you play the pantomime villain you’re going to get treated as such really?

    1. @rocketpanda

      There had been booing before that

  16. Once he’s had the daphnie and Celeste treatment then he can complain. Until then grow a brain and understand you just beat the car that 90% of the audience showed up to see win. Booing and cheering go hand in hand. He makes a fool of himself comparing it to other sports. In NFL your encouraged to boo when the away team is in away to play

    1. O ha to look up the daphne celestre treatment.. Big balls those girls!

      Reading festival, 2000, and on the main stage one of the most punk-rock performances in living memory is taking place. But it’s not Rage Against the Machine, or Slipknot, or any of the other supposedly “punk” acts on the bill. It’s the pop duo Daphne and Celeste, two teenage girls who have somehow gate-crashed the festival bill in order to sing chipmunk pop songs called Ooh Stick You and U.G.L.Y. to a field of disgruntled metalheads.

      Faced with a barrage of bottles of urine, and various other hurled items (shoes, clothing, even a bag of meat), the girls don’t just refuse to leave the stage, but positively revel in the madness. “You guys are such a good crowd,” Celeste Cruz says mockingly between songs. “I’m loving the signs,” adds Daphne (real name Karen DiConcetto), cheerily. “‘Die!’ Yes, I will!”

  17. 2 years ago I went to Monza race. 2 drivers were booed: Hamilton and Max. Not after the race but during introduction etc. Nico won that year and got big cheers, during the whole weekend and after the race when leaving the track. I happened to be there when he left, stopped, waved to crowds etc.

    Ric doesn’t get boos, Max does. Nico doesn’t get, Hamilton does. So it’s not about “omg Mercedes beat Ferrari” booing, but it’s about driver personas and their previous actions. Those two have acted so that people find it suitable to boo them – show that you don’t like them. Ham and Max do say and act in a way that they do activate their own fanboys but at the same time they make general F1 fans not like them… A mirror would help or if someone explained the situation.

    1. @f1lauri Ricciardo has never been perceived as a contender for the world championship. He is an underdog, who can occasionally pick up a victory against the odds – he does not really fit the role of villain. Rosberg was booed at Silverstone. Vettel was often booed in 2013, apparently because he had not wanted to let his team mate win the Malaysian GP without a fight (or people were just looking for a villain).

      You have a point – not all F1 drivers are treated the same way and sometimes they make things worse for themselves. But I also think that their words and actions have only a limited influence on how they are perceived. You obviously do not win F1 titles by being nice and I believe that fans, media, etc. often tend to blow things out of proportion, which leads to booing and other unpleasant side effects of the modern F1.

  18. It’s called not been a Ferrari driver at the Italian Gp. The Tifosi are there to see Ferrari, If your not in red your been booed (Unless you drove a Ferrari in the past or are signed for the next year). I’ve seen stories from the past of Non-Ferrari drivers having stuff thrown at them & bits ripped off of non-Ferrari’s that broke down around the track.

    If Lewis was to ever make a move to Ferrari he’d get the opposite reaction just as Alonso did. He was the villain in 2006 who’s engine failure sent the Tifosi crazy with delight, 4 Years later he was sending them wild with joy having won in a Ferrari.

    1. Hamilton got booed in Melbourne for getting pole and coming second. The Italians are not just rude in italy

  19. Well, some F1 fans are basically not very different from Bill Sikes’s dog (‘Oliver Twist’):

    And don’t he hate other dogs as ain’t of his breed!

    And I am not talking only about the tifosi, you could say the same thing about some Hamilton fans, Verstappen fans, Alonso fans, etc.

  20. I for one don’t understand why Hamilton’s insufferable public personality doesn’t get booed at every venue, but them’s the breaks. Lewis should be grateful, it’s more fuel for his messiah complex.

  21. Lewis! These are not normal people! They are TIFOSI !!!

  22. Hamilton and Alonso fans started this when Vettel was winning at RBR…..

  23. One cannot really believe he didn’t care about booing. Why did he comment on it?

    I am certain somewhere in his mind he must be wandering what would it be like to win Monza in the “correct” car.

    I hope we see him in red someday. If he wants to beat Schumacher 7, Ferrari might be a fine place, considering Ferrari is now faster and faster.

    1. @jureo

      Why did he comment on it?

      Well like most things comments on .. he was asked. I’m not sure why people like you repeatedly expect Hamilton to sit there silently in press conferences when asked questions and not respond. Of course if he did do that you’d be on here complaining regardless.

    2. The clue is in the article. He was asked. Do keep up.

  24. Poor Hammy. His bubble of adoration took a beating.
    Of course you don’t understand. You are not a tiffosi. You live in a bubble like most celebrities do.
    You raced a great deal. But engage the brain before letting the mouth blab.

  25. So we were in Italy…..the ferrari team is obviously Italian…..the crowd was mainly Italians…..they all came with the expectation that the Italian team would win( as did I ) ….and a Mercedes beat them fair and square…..so its no real surprise that they booed…..
    Vettel does not race well under pressure…and the Ferrari team do not do strategy under pressure as well…unti they sort themselves out….Mercedes will always deprive them of points……and Italians will carry on booing..

  26. Coming from Canada I don’t understand the concern for this. It’s normal for the home crowd to boo and disrespect the away team.

    1. +1
      Much to do about nothing.

    2. Well… yes and no. In hockey anyways, we’re at least as likely to boo our own team if they play like crap or the refs when we don’t like a call. Booing the other team happens, but very rarely once everything is said and done – unless fans feel the other team won unfairly, right? And booing a single guy up on a podium isn’t quite the same thing.

  27. I don’t really see how booing is any different from the roar of cheers that happened when Vettel went off into the barrier at Hockenheim, and no one’s attacked the Dutch fans for being unsporting. And I know Schumacher got plenty of boos when he retired at Silverstone in 1996.

  28. Booing is UNCIVILISED.

  29. I suspect that the tifosi had been giving Mercedes a hard time all weekend, judged by the silence that greeting the first run of Q3 and the cheers that came after the second run. Fair enough, Mercedes had to expect that.

    Hence the radio call to do a formation lap of honour at the end of the race. Face it, getting your retaliation in first is the best way to answer any any booing on the podium. A brilliant last strategy call of the weekend.

  30. I don’t understand why Hamilton doesn’t understand. Does he expect cheers?
    He is the arch rival and obviously not popular with some of the Tifosi.
    Nothing wrong with booing as long as it doesn’t go further.

  31. Amazing to see Hamilton supporters get very sensitive and confused about the existence of booing and cheering.

  32. I believed part of that booing was for Vettel.

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