Max Verstappen has issued an apology after facing a backlash for his comment about Brazilians in the wake of Formula 1 qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday night.
Verstappen felt that his final qualifying run was compromised by Williams driver Felipe Massa, saying the Brazilian dived ahead of him unnecessarily on a warm-up lap that forced him to back off, cooling his tires.
When asked if he’d discussed the matter with Massa, Verstappen said: “Well, he’s a Brazilian so there’s not much to discuss.”
Massa was unimpressed by Verstappen’s comment, and took the Dutchman to one side in Bahrain to discuss what he said.
“I told him earlier today: ‘Be careful with your words because you will have a Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of year and you will have to race there. So be careful what you say’,” Massa told UOL Esporte.
“Without a doubt, it was not right to speak about Brazilians without even knowing what he was talking about.”
On Monday, Verstappen posted on his Facebook page clarifying the comment and apologizing for any offence caused.
“I feel like I need to clarify my remarks that were made after this weekend’s qualifying session,” Verstappen wrote.
“Being a passionate racer, I was very disappointed with my last stint and gave an emotional reaction that was taken out of context. By no means did I mean to insult the Brazilian people who I greatly respect and are always very nice to me when I visit the country.
“One of the highlights of my career was last year’s Brazilian GP and it was extra special to do this in the country that brought us legendary drivers such as Senna, Fittipaldi and Piquet.
“I would like to apologize to any Brazilians that feel offended and look forward to racing in your country again.”