Upsetting the Monza faithful, a crowd full of passion at Monza, one of the oldest and most atmospheric of circuits, has always gone with the territory for those who do not race for a certain legendary Italian team.
Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion and Hamilton’s team mate at McLaren last season, has faced his share of it over the years with three second places at Monza.
“Most of them are not there to support us,” he said with some understatement. “But it’s a great atmosphere and I really enjoy it. It’s one of the races that I have loved since I started in F1.
“They (the fans) are really friendly when you arrive at the circuit, very positive. I think they don’t like seeing anyone that’s not Ferrari on the podium.
“It’s worse when there are two Ferrari drivers on the podium…when I finished second to Alonso and Felipe [Massa] was third, yeah…” he grinned at the memory. “I don’t mind it. [but] initially it was a bit of a surprise.”
Vettel has seen both sides of it, winning for Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso in 2008 and then for the champions in 2011.
“It was exceptional to win with Toro Rosso, an Italian team, with a Ferrari engine in the back,” he recalled on Thursday as he sat in the Red Bull motorhome.
“Being on the podium was one of the best moments I’ve had, with all the fans coming and cheering like crazy. There was an ocean of flags, and even though most of them were Ferrari, it was still very special.
“But then when I won here again in 2011, with Red Bull, it was a very different atmosphere…people weren’t so happy. But I had Jenson alongside me on the podium and he said it was normal for anyone not wearing a red overall.” (Reuters)
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