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Max Verstappen has insisted that he is only focused on winning races and not making fans happy after he was loudly booed on the podium at the United States Grand Prix. The Dutchman fought back from sixth on the grid to win the 50th race of his career despite being put under heavy pressure by Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris.
The occasion was somewhat marred after the race by loud boos from the thousands of fans in attendance as Verstappen collected his winner’s trophy on the podium. More booing was clearly heard during the Dutch national anthem, with many fans taking the opportunity to declare their support for Sergio Perez by chanting his name.
Verstappen did not seem too bothered by the frosty reception he received when quizzed on the topic after celebrating his win, saying: “In the end, I’m the one who goes home with the trophy, fine by me.”
The Red Bull man was then asked if he will be frustrated if he is booed again at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix but insisted that he does not care as long as he keeps winning. He simply said: “Then I’ll still go home with the trophy!”
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Verstappen looked totally unfazed in spite of the jeering fans as he smiled and whooped in delight while hoisting his trophy in the air. He drove excellently to secure yet another Grand Prix victory at the Circuit of the Americas and was even forced to manage a brake issue during the closing stages of the race.
A large contingent of Mexican fans were in attendance to support Perez, which may have contributed to the post-race booing aimed at Verstappen. Perez has been subjected to fierce criticism from the likes of Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko in recent months after failing to keep up with his team-mate in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
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Red Bull boss Christian Horner later admitted that he is expecting more boos for Verstappen in Mexico City this weekend, telling Sky Sports F1: “I don’t think Max is going to get the warmest reception in Mexico but that’s water off a duck’s back. One year you are the villain, the next year you are the hero.”
Marko also weighed in on the matter by criticising those who chanted Perez’s name over the Dutch national anthem, saying: “We are in contact with a lot of Mexicans. The majority are very friendly and fair, but there are always some, let’s say enthusiastic people, who don’t maintain the fair sporting standard.”
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