“…So I gave him the finger” – Verstappen, Norris and Piastri recount bizarre shared Imola F1 fan tale

The top three in Imola qualifying for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP all remembered one mystery F1 fan


Max Verstappen revealed he’d flipped off an Imola fan in qualifying for the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with McLaren‘s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris adding they’d also noticed the rogue spectator but for contrasting reasons.

Piastri and Norris provisionally qualified second and third within a tenth of the pole-sitting Dutchman, but while the Australian’s account echoed that of Verstappen, Formula 1‘s reigning grand prix winner explained he’d received support from the mystery fan.

That prompted Piastri to jokingly ask whether Norris has signed for Ferrari, with the Scuderia certainly the home favourites even away from the unmatched frenzy of Monza.

“It’s been great and actually, I had a funny story in qualifying where we were driving in the pits,” Verstappen told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“A lot of people were clapping, then one guy was doing some different things to me so I gave him the finger, and then the next time I came around, he was clapping. So they learn you know?

“It’s easy to be not nice drivers, but I can also be not nice to, luckily he was a bit higher up but it’s good after that – I guess he appreciated it.”

Piastri may lose his front row spot after a Q1 incident with Kevin Magnussen but was still pleased with his qualifying efforts, and for sharing the experience of Verstappen‘s reception from the grandstands.

“I saw the same guy. I think he wasn’t giving me the finger but it was a thumbs down,” Piastri added. “I think in all sports, a little bit of giving the opposition some stick is always good fun I think and part of it.

“Of course there’s always a limit to that but I think this is what sport can be about, you look at all the football rivalries and stuff like this there’s always so much passion on both sides. And I think the Ferrari fans, are the epitome of passionate fans.”

Piastri: Imola fans have welcomed all

Oscar Piastri during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren
Oscar Piastri during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren

Piastri admitted he’s felt very welcomed by the Imola fans despite the overwhelming Ferrari support and the odd rogue element in the grandstand, on his first time racing at the circuit at any level.

“They’ve been very welcoming this weekend,” Piastri said. “Maybe not from a distance in the pit lane, but you know, they’ve been very passionate and you know, these are the kind of fans that that we love in F1.

“It’s my first time racing here and it’s been very special. Even though it’s not my favourite track on the calendar, Monza‘s one of my favourite weekends because of the fans and none of them are cheering for me they’re all cheering for Ferrari. So I think for me being part of events like that is always very special.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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