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Sep.3 (GMM) Max Verstappen broke with his usual routine on Thursday by doing a ‘track walk’ on home soil at Zandvoort.
“Are you sick or something?” his father Jos jokingly asked him over the phone as the circuit inspection with Red Bull engineers took place on Thursday.
Amid the intense title battle with Lewis Hamilton, the Dutchman said his engineers simply advised the walk take place ahead of this weekend’s race on the highly unique Zandvoort layout.
For Hamilton, who arrived at the circuit wearing an orange-themed outfit, this weekend’s tension will be exacerbated by likely vocal hostility by Verstappen’s fans.
“I hope the audience reacts better to the battle and doesn’t boo Lewis,” Jos Verstappen said. “Max will figure out how to deal with his opponent himself.”
But Max, 23, said he will not be issuing a public plea for the Dutch fans not to boo.
“It is not up to a local football club to go over the loudspeaker and say ‘guys, you cannot boo’ because it will naturally happen,” he said.
“I just have to focus on what I am doing on the track. I’m sure most of them are just here to see cars and racing and have a great weekend.
“I cannot decide for them.”
As for Hamilton, the seven time world champion said recently that those who boo have “hate in their hearts” – but he is now saying he will rise above that extra challenge this weekend.
“It’s just a passion that the fans have – or the dislike that some of them have of their opponents,” said the Mercedes driver.
“They’re probably a small portion in the grandstand out there and I admire the others for being able to withstand the boos too. That’s the sport.”