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Lewis Hamilton will experience the “real Orange fan” from the same crowd that follow Max Verstappen around the F1 calendar when the Dutch Grand Prix rolls around in September, according to Jan Lammers. While the action on the track at the Austrian Grand Prix grabbed the attention of many, it was the off-track issues which also made headlines.
The Red Bull Ring race was marred by allegations of racism and homophovic abuse in the stands and along the track. A loud cheer also erupted from the stands when Hamilton crashed out of qualifying on Friday last week.
The capacity crowd was largely made up of orange-clad Dutch supporters of reigning world champion Verstappen. The ‘Orange Army’ have previously booed Hamilton at the Dutch Grand Prix, while avid supporters of the seven-time world champion have similarly aimed fierce abuse at Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.
The nature of the rivalry between the two which came to a head last season has often led to both drivers battling the atmosphere as well as the track. But last week’s events at the Red Bull Ring have led to F1 officials speaking out and calling for change.
Now Dutch Grand Prix boss Lammers also thinks Verstappen’s supporters will give Hamilton a warm welcome when the F1 circuit touches down in Zandvoort in September.
“I think the real Orange fan would like to make a statement of showing now how it’s done, so I don’t expect any trouble,” he told Reuters. “I have a feeling that this will be the best time to go because everybody will be on good behaviour of course.
“I’m pretty confident that when the Dutch GP is here, the Dutch public would like to show how we receive a seven-time world champion [Mercedes driver Hamilton] and how we go about each other.”
Lammers accepted that some of those in attendance at the Red Bull Ring who crossed a line were “wearing orange and Max Verstappen clothing”, but insisted “”you cannot call them fans”. “When you go to support your favourite – in this case, Max – then you want to behave in a way that he can be proud of you,” he added.
“This is embarrassing.”
Verstappen spoke out against the abusers from last weekend’s race and called those guilty not “normal human beings”. “It is not good and these things shouldn’t happen,” he said.
“I read a few shocking things and that is clearly not OK. I shouldn’t need to say this, it should be a general understanding that this shouldn’t happen. A normal human being shouldn’t think like that or behave like it.”
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