Lewis Hamilton was angered to see sections of the Silverstone crowd booing Max Verstappen during qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
Reigning Formula One world champion Verstappen was greeted by a chorus of jeers before conducting a post-qualifying interview on Saturday, having had to settle for second on the grid after being pipped by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who claimed the first pole position of his career.
Verstappen, who recorded a time less than a hundredth of a second slower than Sainz in treacherous conditions, spent the 2021 season locked in a dramatic and at times ill-tempted title tussle with Hamilton.
The duo were involved in a collision on the same course last year, before Verstappen clinched his first title at Hamilton's expense in contentious circumstances in December.
Verstappen also courted controversy earlier this week when he suggested Nelson Piquet's alleged use of a racist slur to describe Hamilton had been "blown out of proportion."
Speaking after qualifying in fifth, Hamilton suggested last year's battle with Verstappen may have antagonised the Silverstone crowd as he refused to condone the reception afforded to the Red Bull driver.
"I think we are better than that and I definitely don't agree with the booing," Hamilton said.
"We should be here pushing everybody and it doesn't make any difference.
"But I do really appreciate the support I have. Maybe some of them are feeling the pain from last year. Either way, I appreciate it."
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff echoed Hamilton's sentiments, asserting: "That is unsportsmanlike. If you’re not into the other guy, just remain silent.
"I don't think any of the drivers deserves booing, whatever happened last year. Being booed is abusive and there is a certain limit which we shouldn’t overstep."
Meanwhile, Verstappen, who is targeting a third successive race victory on Sunday, insisted the hostile atmosphere did not faze him.
It was quite a tricky Qualifying with the rain, but to be on the front row here is good for us. Tomorrow is when it really counts and we have a good race car. So we’ll be there @redbullracing— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 2, 2022
Congrats @Carlossainz55 on your first pole pic.twitter.com/LjPuSsfUNR
"It was a bit disappointing because I couldn't really understand [interviewer] Billy [Monger]," he joked.
"If they want to boo, they [can] do it. I'm always happy to be here, it's a great track and a great atmosphere in general.
"Maybe some of them don't like me, they're all entitled to their own opinions. I don't care."