Former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo says the Tifosi’s negative reaction on Sunday to Lewis Hamilton’s win in the Italian Grand Prix was “a big mistake”. Even 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen echoed his sentiments.
The Scuderia suffered a painful defeat at Monza at the hands of the Mercedes driver, whose performance drew praise from di Montezemolo, a man who reigned for 23 years at the helm of the House of Maranello, from 1991 to 2014.
“Lewis is a fantastic champion, has always been very correct, and he made a fantastic race. Full stop,” the Italian said.
“What happened was very, very bad and I am really upset.”
The 71-year-old believed that part of his countrymen’s vociferous reaction on Sunday was rooted in the perception that Mercedes had used Valtteri Bottas to hinder Kimi Raikkonen’s progress and prevent the Ferrari from challenging Hamilton.
“I can tell you we won a few championships [this way] when I was the chairman and CEO – with Kimi and Felipe Massa, with Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher, with Michael and Eddie Irvine,” he said.
“So this is part of the history. And Bottas did not make anything incorrect or a foul. He made his race.
“When I have heard somebody make criticism… This is normal. In life it is difficult to win, but it is more difficult to accept when you don’t win. So, yesterday I was not happy for what I have seen, from the public.
“Mercedes made its job. If I was in charge of Ferrari in the same condition as Mercedes, I would make exactly the same choice. So, finito.”
Even Kimi Raikkonen says the boos during the Italian Grand Prix podium were “not very nice” and believes such conduct does not have a place in Formula 1.
After Lewis Hamilton beat the Ferrari driver to claim his fifth victory at Monza and extend his advantage over Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings to 30 points, boos from the crowd were directed towards the Briton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas throughout the podium ceremony.
Hamilton shrugged off the boos, claiming he had “harnessed it and turned it from negative to positive” to use as extra motivation, adding he was not offended by the reception he received. But Raikkonen, who finished second following a race-long duel with Hamilton, defended his rivals.
“I think everybody has the right to do what they feel like but I don’t think it’s very nice,” The Finn said.
“I don’t think it should happen but obviously it’s not my decision. It happens and that’s how life is but it’s not very nice.”
Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told the BBC he was “disgusted” by the treatment of Hamilton, who he described as a “fantastic champion”.
Booing was also heard during the British Grand Prix podium following Vettel’s victory ahead of Hamilton, while the Ferrari driver was jeered by a large portion of Max Verstappen fans at Hockenheim when he crashed out of the lead of the German Grand Prix.