‘I think it is really terrible’: Verstappen fans slammed for booing Hamilton

Boos were often heard from the crowd as Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fought for the 2021 world championship.

Former Formula 1 driver Christijan Albers has spoken out against F1 spectators – particularly fans of Max Verstappen – booing Sir Lewis Hamilton during the 2021 season.

Hamilton and title rival Verstappen engaged in a battle for the ages for the world championship last year, and were involved in notable collisions in Silverstone, Monza and Saudi Arabia during what became an incrementally controversial season of racing.

These incidents would often prompt booing from fans with an allegiance to one of the two drivers and Albers has condemned this, particularly the abuse the Briton received after qualifying in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Again with qualifying there was shouting [booing],” he said in conversation with Motorsport.com.

“In all the years that I have been active in motorsport, that has never happened [except for] once, in Austria, in the year that [Rubens] Barrichello had to let [Michael] Schumacher pass.”

The Dutchman reiterated his position that such abuse of drivers is not welcome in motorsport like it might be in other sports.

“Motorsport is not like football. We are fans of everyone, of course a little more of Max Verstappen, but this does not belong in motorsport,” he added.

“I think it is really terrible.”

Hamilton looked set for his record-breaking eighth world championship until the closing laps of the race in the UAE capital, leading his rival comfortably before a Nicholas Latifi crash extracted the Safety Car.

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Verstappen pitted, while Mercedes kept the 37-year-old out on track in fear that conceding track position so late on could be severely detrimental to his title chances.

This left five lapped cars between the leaders and, having initially ruled that no lapped runners would be allowed through, race director Michael Masi reneged on this minutes later by allowing only the aforementioned five to obtain their lap back.

The 24-year-old would then pass Hamilton on the final lap of the race, earning his first-ever championship.

Mercedes were seething after the race, with Hamilton claiming that the championship was “manipulated” over the radio on the final lap, before congratulating the Dutchman immediately after the race.

The FIA, now led by Mohammed ben Sulayem, are currently conducting a “detailed” analysis of the controversial events at the Yas Marina Circuit, and Mercedes are pressuring them to make tangible changes to ensure that what happened in December is not repeated.

Toto Wolff doesn't want Michael Masi to be fired after Abu Dhabi GP controversy.v1

Albers, who scored four points in 46 starts in F1, sympathises with the manner in which the seven-time champion missed out on his eighth title.

“I felt for Lewis,” he added.

“He had driven such a fantastic race and then it comes down to a decision.

“A championship you can’t do anything about, you can’t influence. That’s the worst, losing the championship like that.”

The sport’s governing body will conclude their investigation into the close of last year’s championship on 18 March – two days before the beginning of the new season in Bahrain.