Sergio Perez has called for his supporters to show Max Verstappen respect this weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix, amid concerns that the Dutchman will receive a poor reception.
Verstappen is no stranger to being booed and jeered, something he was on the receiving end of at last season’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
It occurred last season whilst he was giving his post-race interview, to the extent that the boos were making Verstappen’s interview impossible to hear.
Perez actually stood up for his team-mate 12 months ago and told his fans to stop with their disrespectful behaviour, which was also on show last weekend at the United States Grand Prix.
The three-time World Champion was booed throughout last Sunday’s podium celebrations by followers of Checo’s, who were at the Circuit of the Americas in great volume.
Unfortunately, the booing continued into the Dutch national anthem, something Verstappen has actually labelled as “very disrespectful”.
Amid safety concerns, Red Bull have hired bodyguards for Verstappen, team principal Christian Horner and advisor Dr Helmut Marko for this weekend, whilst Perez will also have a guard with him.
Fan trouble has been an issue in Mexico previously and not just towards Verstappen, with Perez having called for his home supporters to send the “right message” this weekend to set an example “to the rest of the world”.
“It is very important we give this message, the right message,” Perez said, as reported by Fox Sports. “I know the media likes to create rivalry, but we are here in a great sport and we must show an example to younger generations.
“What happens on the track should stay on the track so that we can show an example here to the rest of the world.”
Verstappen was actually part of a Red Bull marketing day in Mexico on Wednesday and insisted that he received a great reception, something he’s hoping will continue throughout the weekend.
Posters have been put up around the circuit urging fans to show respect towards all the drivers; however, the Dutchman has insisted that it’s “good” for fans to show more support to their favourite drivers.
Despite this, the 26-year-old believes that all drivers should be respected, especially when the national anthems are being played.
“I think it’s good to show support for your favourite driver but you should always show respect for the others and especially on the podium and during the anthems because then it is very disrespectful in those moments,” Verstappen said.
“In general, I think we need to raise awareness not just here but in other sport too.”