Max Verstappen fan condemned after setting fire to Mercedes cap

The Austrian Grand Prix was overshadowed by reports of unsavoury behaviour from a section of fans at the Red Bull Ring.

There were claims of fans being harassed by other supporters during the race weekend. with the various abhorrent incidents including homophobic and racial slurs, catcalling and other abusive comments.

One female Lewis Hamilton fan is alleged to have had her dress lifted up by drunk spectators who told her she didn’t deserve respect because she supported the seven-time champion. Max Verstappen receives huge support at the Spielberg venue, with tens of thousands of Dutch fans flocking to the circuit and creating a sea of orange in the stands.

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However, some of those fans took their adoration for their hero – and their apparent loathing of Mercedes – too far. One apparent Verstappen supporter was caught on camera over the weekend setting a black Mercedes cap alight while looking thoroughly pleased with himself. However, the stunt almost backfired as the individual in question almost burnt himself before quickly dropping the cap.

The clip was roundly condemned on social media. One fan tweeted: “For me, it’s not about the merchandise. It’s the symbolism behind that. What/who are you really thinking of burning? Painful to even think of this”.

Another said: “If @F1 and the @FIA don't get on top of the issues reported over the Austria weekend, expect race weekends to be filled with hooligans there for the fight rather than the race. Can't help but think that @F1 amplifying fake factions between teams and drivers isn't going to end well.”

Has F1 fan tribalism gone too far? Have your say in the comments section below.

A third said: “I like how the merchandise burned him at the end 🙂 🙂 :).”

Another feels the combative language used by team principles is contributing to the tribalism of fans, saying: “What did we expect? FIA is only interested in making money, the language used by some team principles encourages tribalism. I only watched yesterday because my son wanted too. Frankly I can't be doing with it anymore.”

One fan pointed out: “The irony being Austria's greatest racing driver [Niki Lauda] was a member of the Mercedes’ fraternity and Lewis' biggest fan. He would have told them straight what he thought of them.”

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