Formula One: Verstappen berates 'stupid' fans over flares

Spectators burn flares during the qualifying session ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix. PHOTO: AFP

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands - Max Verstappen criticised the behaviour of some of his massed "orange army" of fans on Saturday after flares had been thrown on track during qualifying for his home Dutch Grand Prix.

The world champion and runaway series leader claimed his second consecutive pole at his home event following a red-flagged interruption when one flare thrown had landed on the circuit.

The red flag was waved at the start of Q2, delaying the action for six minutes as the flare was extinguished and the person responsible was identified and ejected from the circuit.

Asked to respond to the incident, on a day when other flares were seen but attracted less attention, after race organisers had announced that flares were not allowed, Verstappen was critical.

He said: "It's a very silly thing to do. It's stupid, so please just don't do that - you get thrown out and it ruins the racing."

The circuit was a sea of orange-clad Verstappen supporters on Saturday with several flares going off despite warnings from the organisers.

Notices throughout the circuit warned that anyone found lighting flares would be removed by security staff.

Pigeons also caused problems on the track for some of the drivers.

"Those pigeons are back on the apex of turn seven," said Mercedes' George Russell, as video replays revealed a close escape for some birds at the seaside circuit by the North Sea. AFP

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