Max Verstappen responds to Monza crowd’s boos after Italian GP triumph

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen walks onto the podium. Monza September 2022.

Max Verstappen steps onto the podium with his fist raised after winning. Monza September 2022.

Max Verstappen addressed the loud booing from the tifosi after he took victory ahead of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari’s home race.

The Red Bull driver received an earful from the capacity crowd after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, having beaten Leclerc to the line after what turned into a relatively comfortable victory – his fifth win in a row.

Verstappen rose from seventh on the grid to take the eventual lead of the race after Leclerc had made his second pit-stop. While Leclerc had hoped to reel in his rival towards the end, Verstappen was able to maintain the near 20-second lead he had before the Safety Car neutralised the race.

The Italian Grand Prix eventually finished under Safety Car conditions, with the Ferrari driver beaten into second place having started on pole.

The result drew anger from thousands of Ferrari fans in attendance, with the race winner being loudly booed after getting out of his car and then again when he took to the podium.

But given the partisan fandom of the Italian team and their ultimately disappointing outcome, the World Championship leader was not going to let that ruin the feeling of winning around Monza.

“Well, the atmosphere for me was not amazing. But it is what it is,” Verstappen said in the post-race press conference.

“When it happens, of course, everyone speaks to me about it, with the booing and stuff,” he later added.

“But at the end of the day, I’m here to try and win the race which [I have] done. Some people, of course, they can’t appreciate that, but that’s because they are very passionate fans of a different team. And this is what it is. It won’t spoil my day. I’m just enjoying the moment.”

Despite his own frustration at how the race had panned out, Leclerc also spoke out against those booing Verstappen, believing that should not be an element of sport that enters Formula 1.

The issue of flares was also raised after they caused safety risks by being thrown on track at Zandvoort, as well as there being clouds of red smoke at Monza which the Monégasque admitted can cause vision issues for the drivers – although he does not think they should be banned completely.

“I think nobody likes booing and I think it shouldn’t happen. That’s it,” Leclerc stated.

“But then for the flares, personally I think it’s okay when it’s used maybe before the formation lap or laps to the grid or something.

“But then sometimes during the race, it can be a bit confusing for us. But it’s the way it is. After the chequered flag there was a little bit, but to me this was not too disturbing.”