Max Verstappen has apologised for any offence he may have caused by making a joke about Brazilians at last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Dutchman had been angry after qualifying when he felt his best qualifying effort had been ruined when Felipe Massa dived in front of him on their preparation lap. Asked afterwards in a written media session whether he planned to speak to Massa about the incident, Verstappen said in a joking manner: “Well, he's a Brazilian – so there's not much to discuss.”
However, Verstappen's comment did not go down well in Brazil and prompted widespread criticisms from fans and some drivers. Felipe Massa subsequently spoke to Verstappen ahead of the Bahrain GP and warned him to watch his words because Brazilians were not happy.
In light of the ongoing controversy, Verstappen was moved on Monday to post on his Facebook account that he was sorry for any offence he had caused.
“I feel like I need to clarify my remarks that were made after this weekends (sic) qualifying session,” he posted.
“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 years [sic] 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.”
At last year's Brazilian GP, Verstappen delivered one of his best drives as he charged through the field in wet conditions to finish third.