Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has apologized for using offensive language on the team’s radio during the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Dutchman directed remarks deemed offensive about people with disabilities to Racing Point’s Lance Stroll after the two crashed.
Verstappen shrugged but has now issued a public apology ahead of this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.
“It happened in the heat of the moment,” Verstappen said.
“I know the words I used were not correct. I never meant to offend anyone.
“Of course I was swearing on Lance but then I saw him right after and that’s what racing drivers are, we can be mad at each other but five minutes later and we you look yourself in the eye, you can forget it.
“Things are heating up from the outside. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I also know it was not correct but I cannot change it but of course you learn from it and we will do better. “
Verstappen was asked by his team about the offensive language in Portugal last weekend, and team manager Christian Horner said Red Bull “does not tolerate” the remarks.
Horner added, “They were created in the heat of the moment when emotions were running high. Max didn’t want to offend. “
Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko added on German TV that the team had informed Verstappen that the remarks he had used were not acceptable.
Verstappen made the comments just after he and Stroll collided at the first corner following a misunderstanding during the second practice at Autodromo do Algarve.
The 23-year-old had let Stroll pass him at the end of the previous lap, then attempted to pass the Canadian early in the next as the Red Bull driver began a flying lap.
Verstappen dove inside Stroll at the first corner, but the Racing Point rider turned and they collided.
Formula 1 stewards investigated the incident but decided not to take further action on the grounds that it was a misunderstanding.
The seat alongside Verstappen is still open for 2021 and pressure has been on Alex Albon to improve his performance and move closer to his teammate to keep him.
Horner has made it clear that Red Bull will look outside of their driver’s program for a replacement if they decide Albon should be dropped.
Horner said, “It’s Alex’s seat and he’s got his ass in the car and everyone wants him to keep that seat. He needs to block out outside noise, keep his head down and have a good weekend. “
Horner said Red Bull had worked to resolve the rear instability issue that affected Albon’s attempts to close the gap on Verstappen.
“A fast car is sometimes a tough car and the way we try to generate lap times is on corner entry and the car has had its complexities this year,” said Horner.
“It made life difficult, but we are bringing developments that begin to address this problem and produce a more complete package that does not have these particularities. “