Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is unfazed by the booing he experienced at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix last weekend.
Having received raucous support in Austria, Hungary, Spa and Zandvoort, Verstappen and Red Bull rolled into Ferrari territory last weekend for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
The reigning champion entered the weekend with a 109-point lead over Charles Leclerc and team-mate Sergio Perez, and the Monza Circuit was expected to favour Red Bull just as Spa did.
The Dutchman also went in with a five-place grid penalty looming over him for changing engine parts, and Perez would receive double that for changes of his own.
The 24-year-old began seventh as a result having qualified second behind Charles Leclerc, but he made his way up to second just a few laps into the race, passing George Russell in his Mercedes.
Ferrari stopped Leclerc early under a Virtual Safety Car that did not last as long as they needed it to, so the Monegasque lost time, and committed to a two-stop strategy when Verstappen was cruising up behind him following his tyre change.
The five-time race winner could not close the gap after his second stop, and race control did not have enough time to restart proceedings after a late Safety Car was deployed, so Verstappen strolled to another comfortable victory.
This attracted boos from the tifosi, but as he inches closer to his second world title, Verstappen is unbothered.
“When it happens, of course, everyone speaks to me about it, with the booing and stuff, but at the end of the day, I’m here to try and win the race which we’ve done,” he said in the post-race press conference.
“Some people, of course, they can’t appreciate that but that’s of course because they’re a very passionate fan of a different team, but this is what it is.
“It’s not going to spoil my day; I’m just enjoying the moment.”
Leclerc is not a fan of his rival being booed, neither does he particularly enjoy seeing the flare controversy that was witnessed at the Dutch Grand Prix the weekend previous.
“I think nobody likes booing and I think it shouldn’t happen, that’s it,” said the Monegasque.
“But then for the flares, personally I think it’s okay when it’s used maybe before the formation lap or laps to the grid or so
“But then sometimes during the race, it can be a bit confusing for us, but it’s the way it is. After the chequered flag there was a little bit but to me this was not too disturbing.”
Verstappen now leads Leclerc by 116 points heading into the Singapore Grand Prix in three weeks.
If he does not get the title wrapped up there, he almost certainly will at the Japanese Grand Prix a week later.
Red Bull, meanwhile, are 139 points clear of Ferrari after Carlos Sainz and Perez finished fourth and sixth, respectively.