Max Verstappen has clarified a comment he made about Brazilian driver Felipe Massa following qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix and apologised for any offence he may have caused.
The Red Bull driver was upset with Massa after he claimed the Williams cut in front of him on the final corner of his outlap in Q3. Verstappen said the move ruined his final preparations ahead of his flying lap, leaving him with cold tyres as he approached Turn 1.
When he was asked if he would talk to Massa about the incident, he joked: "Well, he's a Brazilian so there's not much to discuss!"
The comments attracted criticism on social media and on Sunday Massa responded via Brazilian radio station UOL Esporte, telling Verstappen to "be careful" with his words. On Monday, Verstappen published a post on Facebook to clarify his comments.
"I feel like I need to clarify my remarks that were made after this weekends qualifying session," he said. "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 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."
Verstappen recorded one of the standout performances of his career and drew comparisons with Ayrton Senna at Interlagos last year when he fought back from 16th to third in atrocious conditions in the closing stages of the race.