Verstappen condemns “disgusting” burning of Mercedes merchandise by followers

Over the Budapest race weekend, a video emerged on social media displaying a fan on the observe carrying what seemed to be an orange Verstappen shirt burning a black Mercedes cap.

It got here simply weeks after an identical incident was filmed in a fan space on the Austrian Grand Prix, the place abusive fan behaviour led to F1 taking motion by growing safety and launching a brand new marketing campaign referred to as ‘Drive It Out’.

Verstappen was requested on Sunday following his Hungarian Grand Prix victory concerning the video of followers burning Lewis Hamilton merchandise, which he stated was “in fact not acceptable.”

“No, I undoubtedly do not agree with that, as a result of that is simply disgusting,” Verstappen stated.

“General, I believe nearly all of the followers which additionally had been cheering so much, I believe all through the race and likewise on the rostrum for each driver. I believe that is the way it ought to be.

“Yeah, these movies, or video, of burning merch, I believe that is disgusting.”

F1 fans in the pits

F1 followers within the pits

Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Pictures

Verstappen and Hamilton had been concerned in a fierce battle for the F1 world championship in 2021 that spilled over into social media and has seen tensions between their fanbases at occasions.

On the British Grand Prix in July, Verstappen was met with cheers when he spun throughout qualifying earlier than being booed throughout his post-session interview. Though Verstappen brushed it off, Hamilton referred to as on followers to cease, saying: “I believe we’re higher than that.” 

In Austria one week later – a race attended by greater than 50,000 Dutch followers supporting Verstappen – there have been cheers and celebrations within the grandstands when Hamilton crashed in qualifying, one thing the Mercedes driver stated was “thoughts blowing.”

OPINION: F1 should act arduous on abuse – no fan ought to ever attend a GP and never need to return

Stories of abusive behaviour and fan harassment in Austria prompted widespread condemnation from F1 drivers and groups, in addition to prompting F1 to embark on its ‘Drive It Out’ marketing campaign that’s centered on stopping abuse.

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The marketing campaign was launched with a video that includes all the drivers condemning abusive behaviour, and is about to result in talks between F1 and each race promoter about additional steps to make sure followers are protected at occasions.

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