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Verstappen apologizes for Brazilians remark after Bahrain qualifying

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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.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.