Motor racing-Verstappen slams fans for burning Hamilton merchandise | The mighty 790 KFGO

(Reuters) – Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen on Sunday slammed fans who burned Lewis Hamilton-branded merchandise, calling their actions disgusting.

“It’s of course not acceptable,” the Red Bull driver, who beat Mercedes rival Hamilton for the title last year in a controversial season finale, told reporters after winning the Grand Hungary prices.

“These individuals, I definitely disagree with that because it’s just disgusting.”

Verstappen, the youngest Formula 1 race winner and the first Dutch world champion, has a legion of fans nicknamed the “Orange Army” who follow him around the world.

Footage circulating on social media over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend appeared to show fans burning Hamilton merchandise.

It followed reports of drunken men harassing female fans, homophobic chanting and racist abuse at the Austrian Grand Prix earlier this month, Red Bull’s home race which was packed with Verstappen supporters.

The next race in Belgium, where Verstappen was born, is another Orange Army stronghold with the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, the 24-year-old’s home race, following the following week.

The incidents in Austria prompted Formula 1 to launch its “Drive it Out” anti-abuse initiative on Saturday.

Verstappen, sitting alongside second-placed Hamilton at the post-race press conference, said the majority of his fans were generally respectful.

“Overall, I think the majority of the fans… who also cheered a lot throughout the race and also on the podium for each driver, I think that’s how it should be,” said- he declared.

“The video of the merchandise on fire, I think is disgusting,” he said.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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