Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen has apologised after facing a backlash over a remark made about Brazilians in the wake of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Verstappen qualified sixth in Bahrain last Saturday, feeling that his final time in Q3 was compromised by Felipe Massa after the Brazilian passed him during a warm-up lap.
"My last Q3 run, I was behind Lewis [Hamilton] and preparing our laps and just as I went into the final corner, Felipe just dived in front of me and stopped," Verstappen explained.
"There was a big gap behind us so I was like 'why did you do that?' So I stayed in first gear, first gear all around the corner to make a lap to him and that basically ruined my lap because you have cold tyres."
When asked if he would discuss the issue with Massa, Verstappen said: "Well, he's a Brazilian so there's not much to discuss."
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Massa was less than impressed by the comment, and found Verstappen to have a chat on Sunday before the race.
"To be honest, maybe he was a little bit too hot after the qualifying and he said things that maybe you are not supposed to say," Massa said.
"I believe he will not say it anymore. But I get on with him very well, so I have no problem with him and to be honest I was just joking with him in the drivers' parade and I think he understood because after he came and said sorry and I think that's the way you need to be."
Verstappen took to his Facebook page earlier this week to clarify his comments and apologise 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 apologise to any Brazilians that feel offended and look forward to racing in your country again."
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