Lewis Hamilton says the heavy booing he received from fans after securing pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix “fuels” him, after facing questions about his approach to Q3.
Mercedes sent both of its drivers out just ahead of the Red Bull pair for their final runs and Hamilton slowed in the pit lane, appearing to look in his mirrors at Max Verstappen behind him. A very slow out-lap from the Mercedes drivers — led by Valtteri Bottas — saw the Red Bulls backed up and although Verstappen was able to start his lap, Sergio Perez missed the checkered flag.
After securing pole, Hamilton was heavily booed by a grandstand predominantly full of Verstappen fans but dismissed their reaction, saying: “Honestly, I’ve never actually felt so great with the booing — if anything it just fuels me, so I don’t really mind it.
“I don’t really have anything to say about it. People act wild when it’s sport and competition. I don’t take it to heart. I must be doing something right to be up front, so it’s pretty good for me otherwise.”
Although there’s clearly a hangover from Silverstone, the slow out-laps appeared to play a part in the reaction. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stated it was Hamilton’s right to go slowly given track position, while former F1 racer turned IndyCar driver Romain Grosjean tweeted “If that was made on purpose, it’s not pretty…”
Hamilton was unhappy to have his approach questioned.
“It’s so silly man — everyone was going slow. I mean, do you not watch everybody else? I don’t understand. Do you think I could have gone quicker and then been just closer to Valtteri? Everyone was doing a slow out-lap, so it was no different really to any other lap. Of course every time we go out we’re trying to prepare the tires and keep them cooler because they get so hot through the lap.
“So I’m not playing any tactics. I don’t need to play no tactics, man — I know what I’m doing in the car and I’m fast enough I don’t need to have tactics. So those that are making the comments clearly don’t know anything about the job that we’re doing here — which is probably why they’re not driving here.”
Given his final attempt was a long way off his first run, Hamilton said the initial lap that secured pole position — leading a Mercedes one-two ahead of Valtteri Bottas — was a special one.
“It was an amazing qualifying lap, that last one. It’s been amazing teamwork from everyone this weekend, Valtteri included. Just trying to push the car forwards, developing constantly. The guys back at the factory just haven’t left any stone unturned. It’s been amazing to see everyone coming together and rallying up and pushing forward.”