Reigning world champion and home hero Max Verstappen has been looking forward to his first Dutch Grand Prix as the Formula 1 Championship title holder. However, he was forced to call out a few members of his now infamous "Orange Army" for throwing flares onto the race track at the Zandvoort Circuit during Saturday's qualifying session.

The stands were a sea of orange as expected, with an orange haze floating over thousands upon thousands of fans wearing the same colour. The support for Verstappen was overwhelming, but things got out of hand when one of the orange flares was thrown into the track in Q2, causing the qualifying session to be red flagged.

A small riot broke out between fans as the perpetrator was identified. The organisers acted quickly and managed to eject the fan thanks to the help of other members of the audience who shared information.

Towards the end of Q3, another flare was thrown into the track, causing another dangerous situation for the drivers. Luckily, it rolled off the tarmac and out of the racing line.

Max Verstappen was asked about the incidents after he claimed pole position, and he did not hold back from slamming the select few who were causing problems for themselves and putting the drivers in danger. "To hold flares, it's nice, but there's a limit to how much. However, to then throw them on the track is just stupid," he said.

"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's dangerous, there's stuff on the track. So you shouldn't do it," Verstappen added, as quoted by The Sun.

Members of the Orange Army have been in hot water before, with fans of rival drivers complaining of bullying, harassment and abuse during previous events such as the Austrian Grand Prix.

In particular, fans of Verstappen's 2021 title rival Lewis Hamilton have allegedly been targeted. However, the opposite has been reported from Hamilton's home race in Silverstone.

The competition was intense last season, and there has been some toxicity both in the paddock and in the stands. F1 has been working hard to eliminate incidents of abuse, and numerous drivers and team principals have also spoken out against the problem.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc also slammed the fans who threw flares during qualifying. "It's dangerous, so don't do this type of thing. This shouldn't happen," he said.

Mercedes driver George Russell meanwhile, asked for "common sense" from the fans, saying that it would be a shame if flares become totally banned in the future because they contribute to the electric atmosphere during races.

"It would be a shame seeing them totally banned, because it's part of the show now, but I'd like to see people show a bit more common sense," said Russell.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen boasts a commanding lead in the world championship standings
Red Bull's Max Verstappen boasts a commanding lead in the world championship standings