Max Verstappen and the Ferrari drivers all criticized fans who threw flares onto the track during qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix.
Q2 was stopped early in the session with just Alex Albon on track when a fan threw an orange flare onto the middle of the circuit in the final sector. The perpetrator was swiftly removed by security but then when the final runs in Q3 were about to start, another flare was thrown onto the track at Turn 1, although it rolled into the pit exit allowing the session to continue.
“It’s just very silly to do,” Verstappen said. “To hold flares already, it’s nice — of course there’s a limit to how much. But to throw it on the track is just stupid. I think the person who did that got removed.
“Just don’t do that — it’s not good for anyone: you get thrown out, so you can’t see the race, and for us the session is stopped because it is dangerous, there’s stuff on the track; so you shouldn’t do it.”
Charles Leclerc agreed with the Dutchman, saying a driver could be put at risk by such an incident.
“It’s dangerous, so don’t do these type of things,” Leclerc said. “It’s good there was a reaction by the security guys and this shouldn’t happen. I don’t know if in the future we can do anything to avoid that. I don’t know exactly when it was thrown, but if a car is passing at that time it can create unnecessary risk, so hopefully it won’t happen again.”
While Carlos Sainz echoed those sentiments, he says he likes the flares being part of the atmosphere at Zandvoort when used at the right time.
“I think it’s important to let the fans know when it is possible to use the flares and when it is not,” Sainz said. “I think it was good that they used them on the in-lap when Max took pole but not in the middle of the race or lap 1 when we are in the middle of fights.
“At 300kph, you don’t want this kind of distraction from smoke. Hopefully the organization can do a good job in warning when time is good to use them and when it’s not. Even more important, not to throw them onto the track.”