Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton spurred on by 'negativity' from Ferrari fans
Hamilton booed on the podium after Monza victory but says: "I welcome it if they want to continue to do it as it empowers me"
By Matt Morlidge at Monza
Last Updated: 06/12/18 10:47am
Lewis Hamilton said he was spurred on by "negativity" from the Ferrari fans as he upset the home favourites to win an epic Italian GP.
Hamilton survived an early coming together with Sebastian Vettel, which sent his title rival back down the field, before overtaking polesitter Kimi Raikkonen as Mercedes played their strategy perfectly in Monza.
The world champion was booed by the famous Ferrari tifosi as he collected his winner's trophy on the podium.
"While the negativity is never great, that's what powered me along," said Hamilton. "I actually accept it."
Hamilton continued: "It encourages me. It energises me. I see a lot of British flags around and that's my fuel. I welcome it if they want to continue to do it as it empowers me."
Prior to the race, Hamilton had thanked his supporters on social media for "standing in these crowds full of so much hate and negativity and for your bravery to stand tall and bright."
After Hamilton's victory, his former team-mate Nico Rosberg told Sky F1 that the Englishman was driving at the peak of his powers.
Asked whether he agreed with that assessment, Hamilton responded: "Under the sheer pressure that we are under, I definitely would consider it to be quite far up there. To do it on Ferrari's home turf as well, with such a difficult crowd.
"I really been happy with what I've been able to extract from the car and again, just incredibly grateful and proud of the team for continuing to keep their faith in me, and keep pushing as they are."
Hamilton not angered by boos
While the Englishman said he added that he doesn't really understand why fans were booing, he also didn't have a problem with their reaction to his victory.
"I think it's acceptable," he said. "It's done in every sport.
"It is the way it is. It is easy in the arena that we are in to allow it to get to you, to allow it to have an impact on your life and have you think about it.
"But it is also quite easy to harness it and use it. That gave me so much motivation today. It doesn't offend me - there's nothing to get offended by. I don't think too much about it, I just keep smiling."
Hamilton concluded by applauding his supporters, vastly outnumbered at Monza, for continuing to support him across the weekend.
"I know I've got those individuals who are out there who travel the world to support me," said Hamilton.
"I know they're there. Really really proud of them, because obviously when you're in a big crowd, when you're in a big sea of red and there's the booing and then there's you with the one flag which there is out there, you know you notice there's one guy standing there with a flag or there's a kid waving it and you can imagine being surrounded by that, feeling the heat on him, because all eyes are on him or her, maybe. I really just appreciate that and respect it so much.
"When I was driving round, I really try to point out… it's hard to point to a big crowd and them know that you're pointing at them but I try to point out and know that I acknowledge them and appreciate them."
Wow… I’ll never forget this. We did this together. To the fans, you stood tall, loud and bright in amongst all of the negativity that surrounded us today. We rise together. To my team, I am forever grateful of your vision and passion. We never give up #StillWeRise @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/SZ19bCC6Kh— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 2, 2018