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SPIELBERG, Austria — Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has welcomed the steps Formula One has taken to prevent a repeat of the fan abuse which marred last year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Last year there were multiple allegations shared on social media of fans being subjected to anti-gay or racist abuse while at the Red Bull Ring.

Ahead of this year’s event F1 and the race promoter have beefed up security to ensure fans are not bringing alcohol into the circuit, something which was seen as a contributing factor last year.

Hamilton, who last year called on F1 to make improvements, said he hopes it is enough to stop it happening again.

“Definitely not,” Hamilton said of the prospect of seeing a repeat this year. “Especially when we’re coming to such a beautiful place. It was definitely sad to hear what happened last year.

“I do know Formula One has taken action to make some changes here this weekend. But I still feel there’s work that needs to be done because potentially the same people could turn up. We just need to be very strong in our stance, in terms of how we expect people to be within this space that’s inclusive and for anybody.

“I’m hopeful this weekend that last year was a one-off. Fingers crossed.”

The Austria event is seen as an unofficial home race for the Verstappen, with thousands of Dutch fans making the trip to Austria every year.

Verstappen, who is cruising towards a third world championship this year, condemned the fan harassment at the time and said it had no place in F1.

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Formula One beefs up security at Austrian Grand Prix