The 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was full of excitement, as Charles Leclerc managed to hold off Sergio Perez for second place in the drivers’ championship, and Sebastian Vettel battled with Daniel Ricciardo for the point that would have seen Aston Martin overtake Alfa Romeo.
Max Verstappen experienced another lonely race as he drove off into the distance after starting on pole, coming home to win his 15th race of the season and further extend the record that he broke earlier this season.
Speaking to Jenson Button after the race, the Dutchman has reflected on an extremely positive season with Red Bull, insisting that he anticipates stronger opposition in 2023.
“15th win of the season is unbelievable. It’s been really enjoyable this year, working with the whole team to be able to achieve something like this year,” said Verstappen.
“I know it’s going to be hard to replicate something like this but it’s also very good motivation to try and do well next year.”
The two-time world champion was the only driver however to be greeted by boos in his post-race interviews, as fans in Abu Dhabi voiced this negative opinions towards Verstappen.
This is not the first time that the Red Bull driver has faced boos this year, as footage emerged of the team receiving a frosty welcome at a fan event in Austin.
Those boos were in response to the team’s cost cap drama, and with Perez not being booed after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it is clear that this was not the reason for Verstappen’s treatment on Sunday.
Fans were most likely thinking back to a year ago, where the 25-year-old secured his maiden world title in very controversial circumstances, with many people still enraged by the alleged injustice.
A manipulated safety car procedure saw Verstappen handed a golden opportunity to take the title away from Lewis Hamilton, which he took full advantage of with his fresh soft tyres.
Fans at the Yas Marina circuit have seemingly not forgotten this incident and decided that booing arguably the best driver in the world is a good idea, much to the displeasure of many in the paddock.
Mercedes team boss recently addressed the Austin boos, suggesting that it is out of order for fans to give such a hostile reception to a driver, claiming that Hamilton experienced very similar in Zandvoort on his two visits to the Netherlands.