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Max Verstappen

Verstappen booed by Italian GP crowd after qualifying

After qualifying second at Monza, Max Verstappen had to contend with a hostile reception from a partisan crowd.

Verstappen Sainz Leclerc
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had to gesture to spectators not to boo Max Verstappen as the top three Italian Grand Prix qualifiers were giving their post-session interviews on the Monza tarmac.

Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz had sent the crowd into raptures by securing Ferrari's third pole position of the season, with Verstappen just 0.013s behind in second, and third-placed Leclerc a further 0.054s adrift.

Sainz, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Saturday, was cheered to the echo by the tifosi after declaring his intention to go toe-to-toe with runaway Championship leader Verstappen and fight for victory in Sunday's race.

By contrast, when Verstappen gave his interview, he was roundly booed by large sections of a partisan crowd eager to see Ferrari do well on home tarmac, prompting Leclerc to gesture for the spectators to cease their heckling.

Verstappen: As long as I'm on top, it's fine!

However, Verstappen is unlikely to be too affected by the booing, having said at the Miami Grand Prix earlier in the season that it was normal for fans to heckle successful drivers.

"If I was driving behind, nobody would react," Verstappen had told media, including RacingNews365.com, after the Miami event in May.

"I think it's normal when you're winning and they don't like who's winning. It's something that for me is absolutely fine, as long as I'm on top."

Should Leclerc or Sainz emerge triumphant in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, it would represent the first time that Red Bull has failed to win a race in 2023.

Such an achievement would be reminiscent of the 1988 race at Monza, when Ferrari's Gerhard Berger broke McLaren's perfect streak to take an emotional victory just weeks after the death of company founder Enzo Ferrari.

F1 2023 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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