Lewis Hamilton got an unsurprisingly hostile welcome from sections of the crowd at Valencia during last weekend’s European Grand Prix. (However there have been no reports of any repeat of the racist taunting directed at him in Spain earlier this year).
Hamilton’s not the first driver to have been the target of a hostile crowd either – see a video below of Fernando Alonso getting an earful from the Ferrari fans at Monza in 2006.
Fans booing players is a big thing in some sports – Kyle Busch gets booed in NASCAR and in football they even boo members of their own team for reasons I won’t pretend to understand. Would you boo anyone at an F1 race?
Here’s Fernando Alonso being booed by the Tifosi at Monza after retiring from the 2006 race:
Alonso was locked in a close battle with Michael Schumacher for the championship battle at the time.
I find that video a bit surprising because I went to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last year and sat in the very same stand, surrounded by Ferrari fans. But I never felt for a second that they were particularly hostile towards McLaren, Hamilton or Alonso, despite the championship situation and spygate rumbling on at the time.
Perhaps it was something to do with the fans who turned up? Perhaps Michael Schumacher inspired the wrong kind of F1 fanaticism? Or maybe they were jsut subdued because McLaren ran away with the race.
One of the most famous examples of F1 fans booing was at Austria in 2002:
On that occasion Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello was ordered to surrender his lead to Michael Schumacher, and did so within metres of the line.
Whatever team you’re supporting, the sight of an F1 race being fixed in such a blatant and unsporting way, especially if you’ve paid hundreds of pounds/euros/dollars to see it, is going to rankle.
I don’t think I’d be moved to boo a driver I didn’t like, but I probably would have joined in the booing on that day if I’d paid moeny to see that race. They were even booed by the press in the post-race conference.
Would you boo at an F1 race? Have you booed at an F1 driver? If so, who?