Daniel Ricciardo has slammed Formula 1 fans for taking delight in drivers being involved in potentially serious crashes.
Lewis Hamilton was roundly jeered by some fans at the Austrian Grand Prix when he crashed his Mercedes during qualifying. The Brit was uninjured, but those cheering could not have known that for sure as they took pleasure in his misfortune.
Reacting to those cheers, Hamilton said he could not believe what he was hearing. “A driver could have been in hospital. And you’re going to cheer that?” he said. “I mean, it’s just mind-blowing that people will do that, just knowing how dangerous our sport is.”
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It came a week after Max Verstappen received a less-than-friendly reception from some race-goers at Silverstone. The animosity from fanbases towards the other drivers stems from their fierce battle for the 2021 title which descended into all-out war by the end of the year.
While he has no problem with strong support for teams and individual racers or with rivalries, Ricciardo denounced those who feel it appropriate to hope for or take pleasure in crashes. “I think an accident, that falls into a bit of a different kind of territory,” the McLaren racer said.
“For sure rivalries are great, and the Lewis/Max one, especially last year, was awesome. It’s like any sport, you’re always going to have for and against. And so I think on-track battles and that, to be cheered or whatever, is cool.
“I’ve never been a fan of booing, so I don’t condone booing. But 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. I’m not going to control the grandstands and all of their emotions. In terms of the rivalry and that, it obviously does make the sport, and the fans getting behind their driver. That’s good to see.
“But I guess there’s probably a time and place and that’s not something that I would wish to see. And even obviously, when we are not involved, and I’m happy not to be involved in a situation like that. We’re human beings, and I think people have to remember that sometimes.
“It’s easy when you’re in the crowd all day and obviously have had a few beers and that, and if the guy next to you does that, then you think it’s okay that you can do it. But I feel like you get to an age where you also get mature and you realise that okay, those things what I did when I was 15, I shouldn’t be doing as a 30-year-old man.”