By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has urged fans to be more sporting after boos were heard for the second race in a row at Silverstone on Sunday.
In Austria a week before it was Hamilton, now winner of four of the last five races, who was subjected to jeers and whistles after a last lap collision with Mercedes team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg.
On Sunday, boos aimed at championship leader Rosberg mingled with the cheers after the German came second to Hamilton in front of a 139,000 strong British crowd.
“Look at these guys, you don’t see this anywhere around the world. And you don’t hear a lot of booing, which means we’ve got good British spirit here,” Hamilton had told the sea of fans from the podium.
When the microphone was passed to Rosberg, and it was evident that Hamilton had spoken too soon, Australia’s former F1 driver turned interviewer Mark Webber interjected: “Come on guys, he fought valiantly. He did what he could.”
Hamilton said later he had wanted to calm the fans down and would not have behaved that way himself.
“I feel like we are better than that. I didn’t really hear a lot of boos. But what you just have to understand is they are mad, passionate fans and something wasn’t right in the last one,” said the Briton.
“Maybe when I get to Germany, maybe we will have the same thing. I hope not, because I think in sport in general it’s just not the done thing,” he said.
“If I went to a football game and the other team won, I would never boo the other team because they did a better job and that’s real sportsmanship.”
Rosberg, who attended the post-race fan party, shrugged off what had happened.
“Lewis had it in Austria, that the whole crowd was booing him. The majority of the British were really, really supportive of me this weekend,” he said.
“I don’t want to catch on to those 15, 20 people or more that dislike me. Much more I should mention how much I appreciate the majority of the people who were supporting me. That’s pretty awesome to see coming to here.
“It just shows the racing spirit they have here. Not only do they love their British drivers but they appreciate passionate drivers who are out there doing their best…that’s quite unique.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)