Lewis Hamilton has shrugged off the boos during the Italian Grand Prix podium but feels it is an acceptable part of the sport which he aims to use a motivation in the Formula 1 world title fight.

With Hamilton securing victory for the fifth time at Monza, beating Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen following a first-lap collision with Sebastian Vettel, the Mercedes driver has extended his F1 world championship lead to 30 points.

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While the reigning F1 world champion has been the target of Ferrari’s Tifosi in recent seasons the booing from the Monza crowd returned during the podium ceremony but Hamilton opted to play down its impact and says he used it as motivation.

“It is easy in the arena that we’re in, it is very, very easy to allow it to get to you,” Hamilton said. “To allow it to have an impact on your life and have you think about it.

“But it is also quite easy to harness it and use it and that gave me so much motivation today. I welcome it. If they want to continue to do it, that just empowers me.

“I think it’s acceptable. It’s done in every sport. If I’m really honest, I don’t understand it because I’ve never [booed] I’ve been to football games, I’ve been to NFL games, I’ve been to basketball games and rugby games.

“I’ve never booed an opposing team even if it was against my team. And none of my friends do either so I don’t get the psyche of it. It happens in all sports. It definitely happens in football and probably here more than I’ve noticed in others but it is the way it is.”

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, who also copped a share of the boos at Monza, has backed up the British driver’s explanation and accepts at Ferrari’s home race Mercedes were always the prime target for Ferrari fans.

“I think every fan has their own right to tell their opinion for different drivers, different teams,” Bottas said. “Everyone can say whatever they like, they can support whoever they like.

“Of course, when you get the boos, it’s not as nice as someone shouting your name but as Lewis mentioned, for sports people who have the right mindset, we can turn some negative experiences into strengths, so in the end, if you handle it right, you can really use that as a source of energy.”

The sole Ferrari driver on the rostrum naturally received the biggest plaudits from the Monza crowd but Raikkonen feels the boos should not be part of Formula 1 and defended his Mercedes rivals.

“I think everybody has the right to do what they feel like but I don’t think it’s very nice,” Raikkonen said. “I don’t think it should happen but obviously it’s not my decision. It happens and that’s how life is but it’s not very nice.”

Earlier this year Sebastian Vettel received jeers when he crashed out of the German Grand Prix in front of a large section of Max Verstappen fans at Hockenheim, while booing was also reported during the British Grand Prix podium ceremony when Vettel claimed victory ahead of Hamilton.

 

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