Max Verstappen on being booed by Miami F1 fans: 'They don't like who is winning'

MIAMI -- Max Verstappen shrugged off the boos he received before and after winning the Miami Grand Prix, saying he only cares about going home from a race weekend with the winner's trophy.

The reigning champion won Sunday's race from ninth on the grid, overtaking Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez for the lead on lap 48 of 57.

In the build up to the race, all 20 drivers were presented to the Miami crowd in reverse championship order at the front of the grid, with Verstappen emerging last. There were audible boos from the crowd as Verstappen emerged on a temporary stage and again on the podium when he received his winner's trophy.

But Verstappen, who has been booed in the past during his tight title fight in 2021 with Lewis Hamilton, said the reaction from the small section of the crowd had no impact on him.

"I think if I would be driving in the back of the grid nobody would do anything in terms of reaction -- it's normal when you are winning and they don't like who is winning," Verstappen said. "It's something for me that is absolutely fine.

"As long as I stand on the top of the podium that is the most important [thing]. I take the trophy home and they [the booing fans] go back to their houses and they can have a nice evening."

Verstappen started ninth on the grid in Miami after making a mistake on his first Q3 qualifying lap on Saturday and then missing out on the chance for a second attempt due to a red flag. Despite starting out of position, Verstappen was up to second place by lap 15 and within 1.3s of race leader Perez by lap 20.

Asked if he felt unbeatable, Verstappen said: "I always feel unbeatable. But sometimes other people also have a really good day and they can be close to you, or match you and be ahead.

"But I think what is important is to try to be close to 100 percent or perfect every single time. Yesterday wasn't perfect, so overall this weekend wasn't perfect.

"It's a long season and I always try to be as close as possible to perfect."

When Perez was asked about losing the lead to Verstappen, the Mexican, who had a significant amount of support in the grandstands around the Miami track, said he defended as hard as he could.

"Obviously at the end of the day we have to put the team ahead of us," Perez said. "We are two drivers but there are so many people back home working really hard, so we have to stay respectful and at the end we had a really good fight between us and a bit more would have been contact, and I don't think that would have been fair for any of us. Only for Fernando."