McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has asked fans to consider drivers’ wellbeing before booing them or cheering their crashes after Sir Lewis Hamilton’s accident in Austria was met with celebrations.
Hamilton lost the rear of his Mercedes during Friday’s qualifying session in Spielberg, going off at Turn Seven and heading straight into the barrier.
Rapturous applause and cheers could be seen and heard in the grandstands as he went off the track, and the same behaviour occurred at certain parts of the Silverstone Circuit last year when Max Verstappen crashed after contact with Hamilton.
Ricciardo understands that fans are passionate for their teams and drivers, and so naturally end up rooting against their rivals, but he does not accept booing other racers, or cheering their crashes.
“An accident falls into a bit of a different kind of territory,” he said, quoted by RaceFans.net.
“For sure rivalries are great, and the Lewis and Max one especially last year was awesome, and like any sport you’re always going to have for and against, so I think on-track battles to be cheered or whatever is cool.
“I’ve never been a fan of booing so I don’t condone booing.
“Of course, you’re going to have the ones you like and the ones that you don’t necessarily root for but I think in an accident, you wish not to see it.”
The Australian theorised that fans become engulfed in a mob mentality when they get drunk and repeat the actions of those around them because it looks fun, but grown adults should be more responsible than that.
“It’s easy when you’re in the crowd all day and you’ve obviously had a few beers and that and if the guy next to you does it then you think it’s okay that you can do it,” explained Ricciardo.
“But I feel like you get to an age where you also mature and you realise that, okay what I did when I was 15, I shouldn’t be doing as a 30-year-old man; you have to be a little more sensible.”
Before cheering a crash without knowing if the driver involved is okay, Ricciardo reminds fans that the athletes venerated by the fans are still “human beings,” and that “people have to remember that sometimes.”
Ricciardo went on to finish the Austrian Grand Prix ninth, collecting his third points finish of the season, while Hamilton secured his third podium in a row in P3.
Charles Leclerc collected his third win of the year, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.