Verstappen condemns “disgusting” burning of Mercedes merchandise by fans

During the race weekend in Budapest, a video appeared on social media showing a fan on the track who looked like an orange Verstappen shirt with a black Mercedes cap.

It came just weeks after a similar incident was filmed in a fan area during the Austrian Grand Prix, where abusive fan behavior led F1 to take action by raising security and launching a new campaign called “Drive It Out”.

Verstappen was asked on Sunday after his Hungarian Grand Prix victory about the video of fans burning Lewis Hamilton merchandise, which he found “of course not acceptable”.

“No, I absolutely do not agree with that, because that is just disgusting,” said Verstappen.

ÔÇťOverall I think the majority of the fans who also cheered a lot I think during the race and also on the podium for every driver. I think it must be so.

“Yeah, those videos, or video, of burning merch, I find that disgusting.”

F1 fans in the pits

F1 fans in the pits

Photo By: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen and Hamilton were engaged in a fierce battle for the F1 world championship in 2021 that has spilled over to social media and has seen tensions between their fan bases at events.

At the British Grand Prix in July, Verstappen was met with cheers as he spun in qualifying before being booed during his post-session interview. Although Verstappen waved it off, Hamilton called on fans to stop, saying: “I think we’re better than that.”

A week later in Austria – a race attended by more than 50,000 Dutch fans who supported Verstappen – there was cheering and cheering in the stands when Hamilton crashed in qualifying, something the Mercedes driver said “stunning”.

Reports of abusive behavior and intimidation from fans in Austria led to widespread condemnation of F1 drivers and teams, prompting F1 to launch the “Drive It Out” campaign aimed at preventing abuse.

The campaign launched with a video featuring all drivers condemning abusive behaviour, and will spark talks between F1 and each race promoter about further steps to ensure fans are safe during events.

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