Max Verstappen hits back at ‘disrespectful’ Austin booing during national anthem

Henry Valantine
United States GP podium celebrations with Max Verstappen Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris.

There were boos as Max Verstappen received the winner's trophy.

Max Verstappen has responded to the “disrespectful” booing that was sent in the direction of the podium during last weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

Loud boos were heard when Verstappen was handed the winner’s trophy in Austin, though theories have conflicted as to whether the disapproval was aimed at the Red Bull driver or Texas governor Greg Abbott, who also appeared on the podium.

Verstappen was not convinced when it was put to him that the “chanting” was aimed at Abbott rather than him, but believes there should be a wider “awareness” surrounding respect for drivers.

Max Verstappen: ‘It’s always good to support your favourite driver, but also to have respect’

Verstappen, along with team-mate Sergio Perez, has been promoting the ‘Racepect’ campaign ahead of the Mexico City Grand Prix this weekend, with a vociferous support expected for Perez as he searches for victory at his home event.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko revealed that, against Verstappen’s own wishes, he will be accompanied by bodyguards this weekend in case of security concerns in Mexico, but the Dutchman has been thankful for an “amazing” welcome in the country so far.

When alluding to last weekend’s podium celebrations in Austin however, he believes it was “quite disrespectful” of those responsible to boo while the national anthems were being played.

“Honestly, the reception that I got was very nice and we had a great time,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 when asked about how he has been received upon arrival into Mexico.

“Of course, people always have questions about it but, for me, I’m here to do my job and so far, the welcome that I’ve got has been amazing. It always has been amazing and hopefully, it will stay like that to everyone.

“That’s why I think they’re also trying to promote that because it’s not something only about here, I think it’s in general in the sport right now.

“We gained a lot of new fans over the last few years and they might maybe respond or react a little bit differently to what we had before.

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“Of course, I think it’s always good to support your favourite driver, but also to have respect to others. In particular, places while being on the podium when the national anthem is being sung or played, I think it’s always quite disrespectful when you start chanting through these kinds of moments.

“And that’s why I think it’s good that they are raising awareness because it’s not only in our sport, it’s a lot of different sports where people are trying to raise this kind of awareness.”

When it was put to him that the booing on the podium was in fact directed at Governor Abbott rather than him, based on the conversations that had taken place on the ground, Verstappen was not convinced.

“I don’t think so,” he responded.

And when questioned further, with the belief that some fans of his team-mate had become caught up in booing of Abbott without realising it had sounded like a direct chant against the three-time World Champion, he still believes there was an element of the disapproval that was against him directly.

“I think it might be both ways, but that’s fine,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s now targeted to me or to whatever governor, I think in general it’s just to raise that kind of awareness to any kind of drive.”

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