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Hamilton expects “strong talks” over “unacceptable” comments by Red Bull management

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton accused Red Bull of inciting booing against him with comments the team has made in recent weeks.

The Mercedes driver was jeered by some in the crowd yesterday after taking pole position for today’s Hungarian Grand Prix. He believes the reaction was inspired by comments made by the Red Bull team following his collision with Max Verstappen at Silverstone two weeks ago.

“It’s not a surprise to me given the things that have been said from the heads of that team that have incited that,” said Hamilton. “I think over this break people really need to look within the things that have been said, because it is unacceptable the things that have been said – on top of that, the things that have escalated, the fire that it’s caused.”

Hamilton was subject to racist abuse on social media following the British Grand Prix, which was swiftly condemned Mercedes, Red Bull and other teams. On Friday Red Bull confirmed an employee who had sent racist personal text messages – not believed to be related to Hamilton – was no longer working for them.

“They’ve just had to fire someone [for] things that were said,” Hamilton continued. “I don’t know who it was about, it doesn’t matter who it was about. If I pass it to my friend or my father or my brother, we all feel that pain of what they meant by those words.”

Mercedes has risen above the criticism which it has faced in recent weeks, said Hamilton.

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

Red Bull vehemently criticised Hamilton following his collision with Verstappen and tried, unsuccessfully, to trigger a review of the incident in the hope of earning a tougher penalty. Hamilton believes the booing he faced yesterday was provoked by their comments.

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“I’m a sporting fan. I’ve never booed any team in any other sport because it’s just not in my character. Of course I want one team to win more than other or something like that. But I’ve seen that, I’ve grown up around it, we know what it is.

“But we do have to be so careful with our words. Particularly as there’s young kids watching. We’re supposed to be shining a light and encouraging people out there and spreading positivity.

“Leaders of this industry need to be leaders. They have people following them and kids following them and as a sport we’ve got a responsibility. There should be some strong talks probably over the next weeks. But either way, it’s not got in my way.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff criticised the booing directed at Hamilton, which he suggested came from Verstappen supporters.

“The booing has no place in the sport, but you need to also recognise that the emotions have been very high in the last two weeks and the grandstands are packed with Dutch fans,” he said. “Nobody likes that and people that have done sports competitively will never understand why that is.”

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2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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40 comments on “Hamilton expects “strong talks” over “unacceptable” comments by Red Bull management”

  1. Paolo (@paulsteward40)
    1st August 2021, 9:57

    Calm, collected and eloquently put Mr Hamilton. The verbal rhetoric coming out of RB ‘senior’ management (sic) is beyond the pale

    1. Not really, for something that only makes him stronger he is milking it to the end.
      Lots of boos from locals BTW. Probably related to his political adress.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    1st August 2021, 10:08

    Nonsense by Hamilton. What was said by Red Bull management was absolutely spot on. And the majority of people online only echo’d that. Enlarging a tiny tiny group and to then claim those people only did it because what was said is not even close to being representative. But as I said before: Mercedes has never needed to play this hard for a title as they’ve really only ever had the fight in-house. They didn’t mind losing a race or two as they knew they would still claim the title anyway. Now that they are unsure, their nasty tactics come back out but they forget they are a large international company with PR to uphold. Yeeting a competitor off the track, partying like you’ve won the title and having fans that cheer when the driver it pushed into the wall with 51G (Hamilton and Mercedes are awfully quiet about that but it DID happen) and to then give stick to the victim by saying it’s his fault: yeah, not very good PR is it.

    Suddenly they come with some new initiatives and try to paint themselves as the victim by pointing at Red Bull. Something Mercedes/Hamilton-fans are all to happy to pick up on. Has Hamilton or Wolff seen the absolute bucket of garbage that has been thrown onto Red Bull and Verstappen? Of course they haven’t. And judging from the responses on this site, for those two it’s allowed to be done because ‘they had it coming’. Change the names of Red Bull and Verstappen to Mercedes and Hamilton and apply the same ‘reason’ and it’s ‘bUt yOu cAnT dO ThAt’.

    To top it all off, you have Wolff saying ‘we should let it rest’ but not before making yet another did at Red Bull and Horner. Doesn’t really show that Mercedes is willing to let it rest unless they are ahead.

    1. manoli moriaty
      1st August 2021, 10:58

      Well done, you parroted what the hate-Lewis camp has been blabbering for the past week, and added exactly nothing to the debate. Congrats

      1. But, still a valid and argumented line of thought.
        Mercedes /Hamilton is milking this incident to the fullest.
        Even with putting the blame on Rbr and doing the same.

        1. Yes, Barry Bens put forward an eloquent and reasoned assessment of the situation.

          I’m a Brit who supported Lewis ever since he first proved he had the skills, but honestly all the identity politics stuff he has been amplifying over the past couple of years are hugely misguided and divisive. Sadly it’s a function of social media and the need to split us into teams for ‘clicks’ and advertising revenue.

          Accordingly I’m now firmly in ‘team Max’. Furthermore Lewis cannot say as he did yesterday that booing makes him stronger, then come out with this ‘I’m the victim’ stuff, it’s just nonsense.

      2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        1st August 2021, 12:23

        Pot, meet kettle

    2. Yes, I totally agree! And again a Mercedes was taking out the Red Bulls. Well done Mercedes you are leading the championship of shame!

  3. Lewis Hamilton accused Red Bull of inciting booing against him with comments the team has made in recent weeks.

    I disagree. Maybe Lewis could point the finger at the race commentators, because I was listening to what they said, and it could easily have been some in the crowd were also listening to race commentators, but as far as I know Red Bull hadn’t released any comment about Lewis’s alleged impeding of Max and Sergio before Sky conducted their interview with Lewis. The booing happened prior to the interviews, and in fact the Sky commentator (very sorry, I have forgotten his name at this moment) asked the crowd to stop doing that.
    The important question is whether Lewis chose to impede Max and Sergio or whether it was just a result of the circumstances? Some people say Lewis didn’t choose to impede Max and Sergio but it was just a result of the circumstances, but I can’t but help suspect he did choose to impede Max and Sergio, and that if he had acted differently then he, Max, and Sergio would have posted respectable times on the timing board. None of this excuses Red Bull from waiting until almost the last moment before allowing Max and Sergio to depart their garages.
    Nevertheless, the big problem I see is Max walked away from the last race with just 3 points while Lewis walked away with around 10 times that amount, and somewhere in the middle of the problem are both Max and Lewis. I hope this WDC is won by merit, not by gamesmanship.

    1. I think Hamilton is saying that RB’s tone over the British GP has encouraged fans to bully him. Personally, I think Hamilton’s sensitive feelings are getting out of control.

      1. @prime So the (outside) interviewer, Bottas and Verstappen commented that he booing was ridiculous, but in your mind it’s just Hamilton’s sensitive feelings?

      2. @prime I’d say judging purely on yesterday’s performance, HAM has everything under control. Watching Max crack like he did in the post qualifying press conference was enlightening as to who is getting sensitive here

  4. I’m really not sure what people expected Red Bull to do. Their driver, leading the championship is taken out of the race by his closest competitor who is punished for being predominantly at fault, but still ends up winning the race erasing their hard fought advantage and landing them with a 2m cost in damages from a move that was iffy at best. Kinda think they were right to be angry, right to question choices, and right to point out a bad move when it’s a bad move. Really not sure where this idea ‘they’ stirred up this antagonism is coming from as they were absolutely right to say what they did and now we’re just talking about how the perpetrator, who STILL WON is also the victim? Were they meant to thank him? Or just jump out of the way when they saw ‘sir’ coming?

    Fans booing is gross, the racism towards Hamilton abhorrent – there’s no excuse for that. But the idea Red Bull/Verstappen/Horner/Marko somehow created this is ridiculous. Hamilton was criticised and deserved to be, he’s not above punishment or criticism and painting Red Bull to be somehow instigators of racism is more an attempt at ‘tarnishing their reputation’ than they ever have done towards Hamilton.

    1. Predominantly faulty, not completely faulty.
      Red Bull should just calm down or somebody wishes to prove that Max also deserves his portion of fault punished as well.

    2. @rocketpanda RB insisting the cost of repairs after the crash (which teams never do in other circumstances), Horner insisting in Verstappen’s being in an hospital when it was for normal checkup after a crash, nothing serious was suspected, added fuel to the drama.
      Then you can see the comment section here (I don’t do social media) where commentators are convinced that Hamilton crashed on purpose.

      Verstappen criticized Mercedes celebrations, which completely understandable, but then refused to fuel the drama.
      Horner on the other hand, kept adding fuel with his column on a RB owned site (which he wrote hours after the race, having the time for emotion to get to a low level again) and then the insinuation in the RB protest, which even surprised the stewards reviewing it. To quote their response:

      The stewards note, with some concern, certain allegations made in the competitor’s above letter. Such allegations may or may not have been relevant to the stewards if the petition for review had been granted. The stewards may have addressed these allegations directly in any decision that would have followed. The petition having been dismissed, the stewards make no comments on those allegations.

      This what prompted Mercedes – a global brand which must protect its image – to react.

      Basically: RB are within their right to be angry and question things, but they went a step too far. The FIA said so regarding the comments they made against Hamilton in their request.

      Those comments were not made public, I suppose in an attempt to deescalate things. I agree with everybody that with such comments, Hamilton is not helping in putting the whole Silverstone saga to bed and move on.

  5. Didn’t he say yesterday that booing only fuel his fire? Why is he complaining now when they only did him a favor?

    1. Well, he is consistent in his inconsistency

    2. On with the booing, let Egesta burn to ashes

  6. I couldn’t agree more with him.

    1. As I understand from someone on the grandstand.
      There was a important influence by the images shown of Hamilton trying to fool the two red bulls.
      The world feed of this situation was shown on the large screens and resulted in an outrage with the spectators.
      That combined with his political stance and the reaction of the locals and several thousand Dutch fans created this “sound”.
      So to put the blame on Redbull is completely out of order.
      He should apologise for that lie.

      1. Odd that, you would think if they paid all that money they would at least look at the action first hand, if only occasionally. At least notice the black car a few seconds in front of Ham, and the one before that, and the one before that. Or maybe even noticed despite the slow speed to keep the tyres cool they still caught the tail two corners before the straight. Or maybe they thought Ham should get up Bottas’s gearbox to allow the RB’s a better stab at pole?
        But glad to know despite all the rhetoric from RB about ‘irresponsible’, ‘should have known it could have been fatal’, serious allegations within the protest, etc. that everyone was relatively cool about that.

  7. Max’s comment about Merc showing “what they are really like” is really coming round to bite RB on the backside.

    Red Bull crossing the line, making clowns of themselves with this appeal, having to fire an employee for racism,
    I’d say Lewis has got the right team.

  8. Thought that booing was feeding him

    1. Racist abuse used to make him stronger when he was a kid at the kart track; but I don’t think that was him giving that his approval either.

  9. So one driver tells the media that he will not answer any further questions and that we should move on and another driver runs his mouth and keeps the pot boiling.

    Absolutely sick of this conversation and how toxic it has made racefans and other sites.

    1. *accidentally hit the report button – just started first coffee*

      And then the boot licking brigade from the island starts wringing their hands and flooding the internet with embellished “facts” supporting their lord and savior. It’s somehow both amusing and sickening at the same time.

  10. This is getting out of hand. Embarassing child like behaviour.
    The banners, the boos, are all Hamilton’s fault, he just had to take responsability for punting Max off and apologise. In the end he might have had to take the boos and banners anyway but at least he would have held his hand up. Ham is doing thr complete opposite, he is demanding respect that he does not deserve. Lewis can’t keep playing victim and not take any responsability for his actions. First he says it is not his fault that he punted Max off and that he shouldn’t have been penalised, then he says RB is inciting even though RB is acting correctly and within their right. Now even though Silverstone cheered Max’s crash, the real villains are the fans with the banners and boos who have absolutely no right or reason to express themselves.
    My advice keep doing what you are doing, the final minutes of qualifying, real classy, even Bono sounded disappointed.

    1. ^—— This.

  11. I got the impression that the booing was more to do with the perception that he’d been deliberately holding up Max during qualifying. It’s pretty strong of Lewis to say red bull has incited it. Usually inciting something is an explicit call to action which Red Bull certainly hasn’t done.

  12. Jeffrey Powell
    1st August 2021, 12:39

    Horner called the move by Hamilton ‘criminal’ at least twice in a post crash interview with Coulthard who made no effort to criticize him for unsporting language .DC fanned the flames by agreeing that the pass was not on and laid the blame entirely with Hamilton . In my view this is where the trouble exploded , Horner feeling fully justified in making his defamatory remarks and encouraged to pursue a ridiculous challenge to the Stewards decision. I like DC as a commentator but this was a serious unprofessional error.

    1. I think their point is using words like criminal, negligent, dirty, etc, and coupling that with ‘irresponsible actions have fatal consequences’ and keeping that going for two weeks is good. But saying that sort of language in sport is unacceptable is wrong.

  13. Predictable comments to put the pressure on Red Bull, but without much point. These fans were no more acting on behalf of Red Bull than those swarming the comment sections of websites the past two weeks have been acting on behalf of the Mercedes team.

    F1 drivers have been booed for years when they end up in controversial situations. Here in Hungary you have a combination of Hamilton going out of his way to make negative political comments about Hungary, a perception among a significant group that he engaged in unsporting shenanigans during qualifying, a lot of Verstappen fans who are traditionally over-represented in Hungary and Austria because of the connection with the Dutch holiday season, and the first race outside the English bubble in which Hamilton and Mercedes can do no wrong.

  14. Herner: “We absolutely don’t condone it [racist abuse] and we immediately on the Monday [put out a statement] as soon as we heard that abuse. And by the way, Max was also receiving abuse as well.” https://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/comments/oumo8y/sophwebsterxx_we_absolutely_dont_condone_it/

    How can someone be this tone deaf? And mind that this comment comes immediately after one of their employees was fired for the most disgusting racial abuse I’ve read in years. But oh well, Max also received [non-racial] abuse, so it’s 50/50.

  15. The fans want to see fair races.
    The Silverstone race was an example of a total lack of fairplay both from Lewis Hamilton as well as from MERCEDES team.
    More then that, Lewis Hamilton proved also a lack of respect for his fellow race drivers by celebrating the victory obtaining by the means of sending his principal opponent into the side rail.
    The reaction that Lewis Hamilton has is a consequence of his actions.
    Now why is he wondering regarding the comments? He can not fool the fans of fair racing.
    If Lewis Hamilton is wondering regarding the negative reaction from fans this lead to the conclusion that he is not capable to assess the consequences of his facts.
    He had proven that he does not deserve the noble title that require honor.
    Sport means to respect the opponent not to push him in the side rail.
    As the race in HUNGARY ended, MERCEDES proved that they are ready to do everything to win the title by any means – this time Valteri Bottas managed to damage both RED BULL cars in the first turn of the race. This is quite a performance but, unfortunately for MERCEDES, it is a negative one.
    Now I ask Toto Wolff which would be his oppinion if one of the other pilots would have pushed Lewis Hamilton in the side barrier in the manner Lewis Hamilton pushed Max Verstappen. In addition, what would Toto Wolff would say if in the next race one of the other pilots would have damaged both his cars in the first turn of the race?
    Now what F1 fans would expect in the next race?
    Can MERCEDES race in a fair manner?
    I really expect fair play from MERCEDES.
    And also fair penalties.

    By watching F1 for many seasons, MERCEDES has the best car so any pilot that drives it can win the race. George Russell had proven this by driving a car that was not fit to himself and also he drove the MERCEDES with extra care not to damage it. Only MERCEDES did not want George Russell to win that race.
    The conclusion is that Lewis Hamilton was manufactured champion by MERCEDES.
    Other conclusion is that Lewis Hamilton is a constantly good pilot but without being a genial pilot as Ayrton Senna was or as Max Verstappen is or as George Russell is. Also Sergio Peres proved that he can defeat Lewis Hamilton. Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon are also very talented pilots. Charles Leclerc has to work on his mental stability in order to be a great pilot as he is also very talented. Fernando Alonso also proved to be a very strong competitor but his car is not so performant as his talent is.

    Thank you.

  16. its all sour grapes Vestappen turned into Hamilton it was a 50-50 racing accident yet everyone blames Hamilton

  17. Vuyohwetu Boltina
    4th August 2021, 22:56

    As much as Lewis Hamilton was seen as at fault in Silverston, he didnt do anything blatantly wrong and malicious. As a leader, one has to be level headed and one has to choose their words carefully when commenting on a public arena. lewis’s actions at Silverston were far lighter than what we’ve seen from his direct competitors. Assuming that all paddock bosses are intelligent non discriminative individuals who are aware of our historic and now apparently assumed current non racial environment, one expects them to be sensitive about outbursts to certain drivers that would on a normal world be normal emotions targeted at certain individuals meant to gain favor from the public and the regulating bodies. . .RB’s comments are a wake up call or maybe an expected response that the depth of what u say has deep and long lasting negative effects on everyone’s future, in a few years time it will be easier a nd quicker to point out people in the crowd that are or were on the wrong side of history.

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