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Austrian Grand Prix: Formula 1 to investigate claims of abuse

Austrian Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc (left), Max Verstappen (right) and Lewis Hamilton (centre) filled the podium places in Austria on Sunday

Formula 1 will investigate claims that some spectators at the Austrian Grand Prix suffered discriminatory abuse.

Lewis Hamilton was one of those to call for action, saying he was “disgusted and disappointed” by the reports.

“Something must be done to ensure races are safe spaces for all,” he added.

Formula 1’s statement read: “We take these matters very seriously, have raised them with the promoter and event security, and will be speaking to those who reported them.”

It added that the reported behaviour was “unacceptable and will not be tolerated”.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “We are shocked to hear that there have been some incidents of abusive behaviour in the grandstands and the fan parks. This is completely unacceptable and we hope that security and the authorities deal with this swiftly as there is no place for it in racing or society as a whole.

“We value inclusion and want a safe space for fans to enjoy our sport.”

Ferrari added in a Twitter post: “There is no room for abuse either verbal or physical against any group of people in sport. Therefore we stand together with F1 in stating that this behaviour is completely unacceptable.”

Hamilton criticises fans’ crash reaction

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton’s crash left him ninth on the grid for Saturday’s sprint race

Earlier in the weekend, Hamilton criticised spectators at the Red Bull Ring for cheering when he crashed in qualifying.

Hamilton went off at Turn Seven, close to grandstands packed with Dutch fans of his 2021 title rival Max Verstappen.

“I was going through a bunch of stuff in the crash, but to hear it afterwards you know… I don’t agree with any of that, no matter what,” he said.

“A driver could have been in hospital, and you are going to cheer that?”

The incident left Hamilton 10th in qualifying, although he was promoted to ninth on the grid for Saturday’s sprint event after a penalty for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, qualified eighth and took third place in Sunday’s race.

Speaking after the sprint, Hamilton added: “It’s just mind-blowing that people would do that, knowing how dangerous our sport is. I’m grateful that I wasn’t in hospital and I wasn’t heavily injured.

“You should never cheer someone’s downfall or someone’s injury.”

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