F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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The groups of F1 fans who have repeatedly booed Lewis Hamilton have been warned by Damon Hill and former Dutch F1 driver Jan Lammers. Hamilton has often faced the jeers from the vocal sections of title rival Max Verstappen’s supporters.
The crowd at the Belgian Grand Prix and indeed the Dutch Grand Prix which follows it are likely to be heavily partisan in favour of Verstappen given his nationality and the geographical proximity of the two countries.
Previous races at Spa-Francorchamps, the venue for the Belgian Grand Prix, have been dominated by the orange-wearing fanatics, some of whom follow the F1 calendar across Europe and indeed the world to show their support for the 23-year-old.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast with Tom Clarkson, Hill expressed his desire that the crowd backed Verstappen in a good-natured manner, as opposed to hounding Hamilton and getting on his back.
Hamilton was loudly booed at the Hungaroring in an angry response to the pair’s now infamous crash at Silverstone, despite interviewer Johnny Herbert pleading with the baying crowd to stop.
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The 1996 F1 world champion, Hill said: “We just have to hope we don’t see a repeat of the boos that Lewis got because of the massive support Max is getting everywhere.
“Jan Lammers has appealed to the public and supporters in the Netherlands to give Lewis a good welcome.”
Lammers made 23 starts during his F1 career, which began in 1979 and concluded in 1992.
The Dutch Grand Prix weekend, which is taking place from September 3-5, is returning to the F1 schedule for the first time since 1985.
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The race takes place at Circuit Zandvoort, not far outside Amsterdam.
The track has undergone considerable renovation in recent years in order to make it accommodating for modern F1 vehicles.
The first race back at Zandvoort was due to take place during the 2020 season, however was postponed like so many sporting events as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Hamilton goes into the weekend in Belgium with an eight-point lead over Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
The Englishman enjoyed a massive turnaround in fortunes in the two events before the three-week summer break.
He flipped Verstappen’s previous 32-point advantage with a controversial win at Silverstone followed by second place at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where his challenger was only able to finish ninth owing to his car being damaged by Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
The Belgian Grand Prix weekend gets underway on Friday with the first practice session.
Both Mercedes and Red Bull are set to make a decision on the future team-mates for Hamilton and Verstappen respectively either before the weekend in Belgium or in the following week.
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