Martin Brundle ‘very sad’ to be booed by Max Verstappen
Martin Brundle admitted to being “very sad” when fans booed Max Verstappen after the Abi Dhabi Grand Prix. Spectators in the stands criticized the two-time champion when he approached Jenson Button for an interview moments after the checkered flag.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez received cheers from fans ahead of their on-track interviews. Brundle stressed that Red Bull could be at least partly to blame for fans’ apparent dislike of the Dutchman.
The team has been embroiled in several controversies this season, most notably being found guilty of breaching the cost cap. This generated a lot of anger on social media and could have contributed to the antagonism the 25-year-old faced towards the end of the season.
Brundle stressed that the team could have “played smarter hands” at some races to try to get the fans back to root for the team.
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Writing in his Sky Sports column, Brundle said: “I was very saddened to hear some booing for Max at the end, we’ve experienced it before for the likes of Schumacher, Vettel, Nico Rosberg and others for decades for various reasons when fans have a strong feeling about of something that has happened or has not happened.
“Red Bull and the Verstappen team perhaps could have played smarter hands in Mexico and Brazil and over the cost cap, but nothing can take away from their absolutely dominant performance this season.”
Red Bull was also involved in a team order row at the Brazilian Grand Prix just a week before the Abu Dhabi final. Verstappen had ignored a team order to let Perez pass despite the Mexican battling Leclerc for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
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The reigning champion claimed he had his reasons for not letting Perez pass, but has yet to confirm whether they stem from an incident between the pair at the Monaco Grand Prix. Again, Verstappen faced criticism online and in the press for his handling of the situation at Interlagos.
Another former F1 star agreed with Brundle’s comments, also saying they feel sorry for Verstappen having to face boos at races. Former Shadow and March driver Jan Lammers claimed that there is even a “sadness” from Verstappen, as the Dutchman is probably confused about what he has done wrong.
He told NOS: “For all his dominance this year, I still feel a little sorry for him when he gets booed. What do they want from a racing driver? If you’re really a motorsports fan, I ask myself: ‘how much better do you want it?’
“When it happens, I think I see a kind of sadness in his eyes. He’s just talking, but you can see him thinking ‘What is this?’ I think it’s sad, but hopefully he can get over it and act on top of it.”
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