Max Verstappen secures his 50th win in Texas
Max Verstappen secures his 50th win in Texas AFP News

Three-time F1 world champion Max Verstappen claimed his 50th career victory and third consecutive United States Grand Prix win in Texas on Sunday. However, some fans were clearly not amused and they made their feelings known by loudly booing during the podium ceremony as Verstappen received his winner's trophy and stood for the national anthems.

The Red Bull Racing star had a phenomenal weekend, winning the Sprint Race on Saturday as well as the main race on Sunday all the way from 6th place on the starting grid. Verstappen was outstanding in Texas, and was clearly still motivated to win despite having already wrapped up the 2023 World Championship title in Qatar.

The latest victory at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is the 50th of his career, but instead of cheers, numerous fans were loudly booing and jeering the Dutchman.

Were Mexican fans to blame?

Verstappen ran away with the championship in 2023, winning an even more comfortable season compared to 2022. He has now extended his lead over teammate Sergio Perez by 228 points, with third-placed Lewis Hamilton another 39 points further back.

Perez has failed to stay within touching distance of his teammate, despite having a promising start to the season. He had an implosion of sorts as the season progressed, often having to make recovery drives on Sunday following disappointing results in qualifying.

Starting from last season, tensions emerged between the Red Bull teammates when Verstappen was accused of not helping out Perez, who lost second place in the championship to Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. This year, Perez made it clear at the start of the season that he wanted to challenge Verstappen for the title, but he fell behind soon after he made that declaration.

Now, it seems that the Mexican's fans aren't too happy with Verstappen, as evidenced by the boos that came alongside chants of "Checo! Checo!" while Verstappen was standing on the podium.

Meanwhile, other than the chants supporting Perez, others are claiming that the boos were in fact not for Verstappen, but were instead meant for Texas Governor Greg Abbot. The governor handed Verstappen the trophy and is increasingly believed to be becoming unpopular among his constituents due to non-F1 related matters.

In any case, the boos were heard clearly on site, and could even be heard through the television broadcast. Verstappen's partner, Kelly Piquet, was seen stopping her recording of the podium ceremony after she realised that the crowd was loudly booing.

Verstappen remains unaffected after another dominant performance

Despite the animosity from the crowd, the 26-year-old Dutchman remained in good spirits as he relished his 50th career win. It was even more meaningful after he fended off a challenge from seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who came in just 2.225 seconds behind. There is no doubt that many of the boos came from the Briton's disappointed fans as well.

Speaking after the race, Verstappen said: "Fifty wins is incredible and to do it here I am very proud. Now we keep on pushing for more."

When asked if the boos bother him, Verstappen said: "In the end, I'm the one that goes home with the trophy, fine by me!"

Hamilton finished in second place but was later disqualified due to a technical breach involving the floor of his car. Leclerc suffered the same fate due to similar irregularities in his Ferrari.

That meant that McLaren's Lando Norris was promoted to second place, with Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz taking the final podium spot. Norris completed his 100th Grand Prix on Sunday, and is still chasing his long overdue maiden victory.

Sergio Perez was promoted to fourth, helping him open up a gap over Hamilton for second place in the championship. Rumours are swirling that Perez has been given an ultimatum by Red Bull bosses, saying that he will lose his seat if he fails to secure second place this year.