F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Lewis Hamilton has spoken out at Dutch fans booing him in his ongoing championship battle with Max Verstappen claiming that although he disagrees with those jeering him but accepting that it is “part of the sport”.
Hamilton will line up at Circuit Zandvoort this weekend,in the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985 – the year the Englishman was born.
And, as his intense rivalry with Dutch prodigy Verstappen rises at an exponential rate, there is arguably no worse time to head across the north sea to face an overly expectant crowd.
Hamilton heads into the race just three points ahead of his rival, but after being booed at the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix, the jeers towards him will likely continue in Verstappen’s home nation.
And speaking to the press, Hamilton has argued the necessity of the booing although understands that passion plays a huge part in proceedings.
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“Obviously it’s something you can expect,” Hamilton said.
“I’ve never been one to go to an event and whistle someone over there, but I understand. It’s the passion the fans have, or the aversion they have towards their opponents. I respect that.
“I always enjoy coming to the Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of the best cities. I know I have some Team LH fans here in the Netherlands that I appreciate.
“There will be some of them in the stands. I admire them that they endure that booing too. But that’s sports. I try to turn that energy into something positive.”
Having won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in controversial circumstances earlier this season – in which a collision between Hamilton and Verstappen on the first corner led to the Dutchman being unable to finish the race – Hamilton heralded his ‘home’ support.
Winning a record eight races at the famous track, Hamilton lauded British fans by claiming that their behaviour is typically exemplary.
He continued: “British fans don’t boo. The British fans are amazing. They are there to have a great weekend.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard any booing from British fans in my time in Formula One. I don’t agree, everyone is doing their best. But it’s part of the sport.”
And Verstappen supported Hamilton’s comments, adding they’re both professional enough to block out the noise.
The Dutchman continued: “I don’t say it’s correct but it does happen. It’s a natural instinct I think people have.
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“Lewis has already said he isn’t bothered by it, so that’s the most important thing. I think we are all professional enough to focus on the driving.
“And then luckily in a way compared to football, we have a helmet on and an engine roaring, so we won’t hear it while driving, so you won’t be disturbed by it.”
The pair have won a combined 10 of the 12 races possible this season, although Verstappen edges Hamilton with six victories.
However, some unfortunate retirements have seen him slip marginally behind Hamilton in the standings.
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