Lewis Hamilton admitted he had been affected by being booed by sections of the crowd after he finished second behind Max Verstappen in Sunday’s Mexico Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion saluted the big sellout crowd, which created a carnival atmosphere at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues, before revealing how “awkward” he had been made to feel. Speaking during the post-race interviews, the Mercedes driver said: “This has been an amazing crowd, but definitely a bit awkward this time around. Boos all day, but nonetheless I have so much love for Mexico and for the people here — and what a great race event they put on this weekend.”
His experience at the Mexico City venue followed a similar outburst of booing in Austin the previous weekend when Verstappen was booed and jeered and continued a trend in crowd behaviour at certain F1 venues in recent years.
Hamilton had been hoping to take advantage of circuit conditions that suited his car to win for the first time this season and extend his record of taking at least one victory each season since his debut in 2007. He said he had been close to Verstappen during the first part of the race before pitting to switch from medium compound tyres to “hards.”
“But I think the Red Bulls just clearly too fast today and ultimately they had the better tyre strategy,” he explained.
“I’m not sure it was the right tyre at the end. I thought we should have started on the soft, but obviously we had the opposite tyre. It was OK in the first stint, but that hard tyre was just the opposite. Congratulations to Max. It’s great to be here and to separate the two Red Bulls.”
His enthusiasm seemed undimmed on team radio when he told the team: “Mega job everyone. Great job with the pit stop and thank you for continuing to push. They were just too quick today but let’s keep pushing. We’re getting closer.”
Hamilton said earlier in the week that he is poised to start talks on a new multi-year contract that will keep him racing with Mercedes in Formula One into his 40s. He will be 38 in January.