Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Verstappen apologises for “Brazilian” comment

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has apologised for a remark about Felipe Massa which was interpreted as an insulting comment about Brazilians.

The Red Bull driver had complained about being held up by Massa in the final round of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. He was quoted as saying, jokingly, that Massa was “a Brazilian – so there’s not much to discuss.”

Massa later criticised Verstappen’s remarks in the Brazilian media, prompting a response from Verstappen on social media.

“I feel like I need to clarify my remarks that were made after this weekend’s qualifying session,” said Verstappen.

“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.”

Massa is the only Brazilian driver on the grid this year after Felipe Nasr lost his seat at the end of last season. The former Sauber driver also took to social media today to deny responsibility for a comment apparently aimed at Jolyon Palmer.

A post on his official Twitter account today read: “[What the fuck] is Palmer doing there? Please hire Felipe Nasr immediately.” Nasr raced against Palmer in F1 last year and was beaten to the GP2 title by him in 2014.

The comment was later deleted and replaced by a post which read: “I had a non-authorised access in my Twitter account. Sorry for any inconvenience. I have already changed all my passwords.”

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 79 comments on “Verstappen apologises for “Brazilian” comment”

    1. Everyone is so easily offended nowadays… and if you don’t agree with me, im going to be super offended

      1. I disagree with your comment. Wow, I’m so offended you would even assume that!

        1. I am incredibly offended that your disagreement with his comment assumes that he would assume that and frankly, I find the fact that you’re offended insulting. The struggle is real.

      2. It’s insulting. I understand why, I also understand why Max said what he said, it’s not because Massa is Brazilian, it’s because Brazillian drivers share a characteristic unpleasant trait when it comes to on-track character and behaviour, egomania.

        1. Difficult to become world champion without being egotistic, me thinks.

        2. Well, when it comes to on-track “character and behavior,” Verstappen is the last guy out there who has a right to complain! :)

    2. I didn’t crucified this unfortunately mention by Max. But certainly was another person who made the apologize post on social media…

      1. Yeah no kidding! That doesn’t sound like Max Verstappen, or anyone speaking from the heart for that matter, at all. Some friendly person in PR probably Google’d “Official Apology” and changed the words a bit.

    3. Good for the apologies but, what did it mean in the first a place with that comment? Are Brazilians the new Asians regarding driving jokes?

      1. Suppose the implication was that Brazilians are stubborn on this sort of thing? Which doesn’t seem particularly far-fetched, regardless of the need to make the remark.

      2. As a brazilian, I think it was just a 19 year old kid making a stupid xenophobic remark based on some brazilian/latin american stereotype (any ideas?) that circulates in Europe, but he happens be an international sporting star with no required off-track maturity.

        During these xenophobic, brexitean and trumpian times, his phrase fits into a broader context, but I’m pretty sure he was not aware of that when he said it…

        Massa could have played it down, saying that he is just a kid, he’ll learn, he’ll grow old, so Felipe was also immature to raise the tone.

        I think it didn’t offend anyone here, he has no reason to worry when in Interagos, it wasn’t even noticed outside our still big but shrinking motorsport fanbase, but I’m curious to know how F1fanatic would react if he had said “Hamilton” instead of “Massa” and “black” instead of “brazilian”…

        1. I like your post. I’m not Brazilian, so obviously I can’t speak for people who are, but some people will try to make a bigger deal of this than it perhaps deserves.

          I don’t think he’s totally absolvable of all guilt. Even in the context, it was a derogatory comment. I was foolish for bypassing his internal filter and making a comment that this sort of publicity attaches itself to. But, I really struggle to come to terms with any suggestion that it was a racially, or nationally motivated; in terms of enforcing negative stereotypes. I really don’t think Max is a racist. That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t wash with me.

          But, I don’t really understand his comment either. What does he mean? Are Brazilian drivers renowned for a particular driving style, out is that just Senna he’s thinking of? I’m not so sure…

          I hope this goes away so the negative right press can chase after another exclusive with absolutely no content for people who would like to believe that there’s any sort of truth in this this kind of story. It self perpetuates.

          Move along, nothing to see here.

    4. Max has never forgiven Massa for saying he was dangerous after crashing on Grosjean in Monaco 2015.

      Max’s comment was unfortunate, and even though it was quickly followed by an apology, Brazilians don’t forget. They are passionate to support but also passionate to hate. I won’t be surprised if the boy is booed or has stuff thrown at him in Interlagos.

      1. @lubhz clearly, all Brazilians never forget. I hope max will survive in São Paulo.

        Thanks for putting the truth out there.

    5. a Brazilian – so there’s not much to discuss.

      deep down a very bold statement by Max ;)

      1. Very bald indeed

        1. Well, maybe there was a small landing strip left there in that bald region?

          1. @dutch-1
            LMAO! Nice :)

    6. Ok Nasr, sure it was… ;)

    7. MV: “… But Massa is a Brazilian – so there’s not much to discuss.”
      MV (later): “…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.”

      Oh, Max, pray tell, if you did not mean to insult Brazilians, what did you mean? (Besides the obvious fact that you meant to insult Massa, of course.) Please help us, lesser ones, to interpret the real meaning of your words in a way that shows the real respect to Brazilians. (Perhaps, to show Max the respect he deserves, others should say ‘But he’s a verstappen, and that explains everything’)

      Reminds me of another ‘joker’ at Monaco 2011.

      1. He was irritated of what Massa did and made a lighthearted joke about it. Does that help you understand?

        1. Nope, doesn’t help. “He’s a Brazilian, so there’s not much to discuss.” Hmm… lighthearted joke. Must be at least a little funny, right? Still nothing. Must be a special kind of humour from a verstappen.

          Dou you find that remark funny? Perhaps you could explain the punchline about the Brazilians?

          1. Theres no way to explain a joke to someone who takes it literally.
            Next time you make a joke and you find someone not laughing you will understand your humor aint for everyone but that alone doesnt make it an insult. Maybe then you will understand Verstappen.

          2. Heat of the moment statement mate. When I am stressed about stuff, I shout weird things if a person so much as nudges me.
            He is still not very experienced and still a teen. The fact that he apologized should be enough I guess.

          3. Yes…I do think its kinda funny…because he hits the nail right on the head. Hypocrits…..look what our Brazilian friend Nasr did yesterday…..far worse then what Verstappen said about Massa

          4. Well, commentators make jokes about Finns being veeeery silent people (and more) and we all laugh at them, so why take extreme offence this?

        2. Marcio Giuseppe
          26th July 2017, 15:11

          Brazilian here and for me that wasnt a joke,but that wasnt racist neither.
          He was refering to the brazilian driving behavior,since Piquet to Senna and now Massa, brazilian drivers are aggressive and hothead inside the track. However,hes gonna have a good surprise when he comes to interlargos and the crowd begin to “sing” to him (as brazilian F1 fans are known to be noisy and sing all the time).

      2. The actual quote from Auto Sport:

        When asked if he would discuss the matter with the Williams driver, Verstappen joked: “Well he’s a Brazilian – so there’s not much to discuss”

        It wasn’t meant as a serious quote. It was a dumb quote nevertheless. Having said that, I find this quote from Massa even more disturbing:


        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’.

        I mean that’s borderline incitement of violence based on nationalistic sentiments….

        1. @jeffreyj, to me, that reads more like Massa warning Max that provoking people in Brazil when you will be racing there later in the year is not a smart thing to do.

          1. @anon Yeah so what? F1 goes to 17 more different GP’s. So unless Massa is indicating that hostile Brazillians might retaliate, what’s the point of his remark?

      3. If you are talking about Monaco 2011, it was Lewis Hamilton’s fault involving crashing into Massa and Maldonado and after the race he played race(skin colour) card as usual. Also if you are referencing Verstappen then yeah he has never finished Monaco GP rather crashed horribly each year. Infact Mad max had blamed Grosjean for the crash in 2015.

        1. Correction, Massa and Maldonado would rather crash than be overtaken. In Monaco there is no overtaking possible at all if the person in front would just rather crash. Massa and Maldonado are guys who have demonstrated that they do rather crash than be overtaken. They were both even penalized for ramming their opponents on purpose because they kept doing it.

      4. Oh come on now, Max is Dutch, what on earth did you expect? ;}

      5. @Manule
        Maybe Max has visited the website erogtseb.moc, which has lots of examples of Brazilian brutality.
        (Warning: Do Not Visit!)

    8. Things like this shouldnt need any clarification but at least it keeps Maxes pr people occupied with something.

      Nasrs comment however is the real deal :)

      1. The real deal? It was posted by someone who hacked his account.

        1. That’s what I tell my wife when there’s lipstick on my collar ;)

          1. What? When there’s lipstick on you collar, you tell your wife that someone hacked your account?

        2. @ho3n3r

          Yeh yeh im sure it was… Even if we assume the account was hacked thats what Nasr is thinking :)

    9. If anything this is ironic, Verstappen has an element of that same sort of hot-blooded, testosterone led drive in his own psyche, something which is at times (very) clear (as it was in his father). More than that, the Interlagos fans last year loved him to bits. This is all a bit silly and goes to show that – Verstappen isn’t quite there yet – and words are taken to mean much more than they should.

    10. Apologies accepted!

    11. Verstappen said something silly about Brazilians, Massa said Verstappen wasn’t very sensible telling those silly things about Brazilians. Verstappen apologized. IMHO end of story and forward to the next race.

      1. That’s not what Massa said. Massa 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 him to ‘be careful’ twice in as many sentences! That’s a not even subtly threatening quote, far worse than Verstappen’s dumb comment.

    12. Verstappen must mostly focus on driving & stop any off track “adventures”.With his apology,the whole situation will be forgotten,but i honestly don’t know what would have happened if the roles where reversed.If Verstappen had taken the clear air in Q3 & and Massa or someone else was angry & said exactly the same,what would have been the reaction?Everyone would be saying “great move by Max” but im sure there would have been a lot of talking & no alibi for the other driver…

      1. *were

    13. Max’s apologies were clearly a work of PR. Still not sure what he meant by the “he’s a Brazilian”, as he didn’t explain the reasoning behind the remarks. I am Brazilian and felt offended, and so was Massa, rightly so. Don’t give a damn to those who are not in the receiving end of bigotry in this episode and believe all Brazilians were overreacting. It was wrong, period. Every act of prejudice and bigotry needs to be firmly rejected and retaliated or we face more Brexits, Frexits, great walls and so forth. We have been living in unsettling and divising times, we do not need comments such as this from VER. It is not about political correctness, it is about common sense. My 2c.

      1. Wow, dude. This is an overreaction. Unsettling times they may be, but this attitude certainly doesn’t help.

      2. Let’s say most brazilian drivers are not prone to self reflection.

      3. Can we conclude that Brazilians are very easy offended in general, and even more when done by Dutch people?
        So now you can feel offended again by me!

        Maybe the problem is more at your side? Very thin skin?

        The Dutch are not known for their polite and diplomatic communication skills. Sorry for that. You may offend us as many times as you want, our nationalism is not that easy hurt. We will do business with you the very same day again, because that’s what we have done for centuries and that is what made our small country big and prosperous….

        1. @dutch-1 Well, that and occupying other countries, explointing/stealing their resources, destroying cultures, committing mass murder and genocide and by being the worlds biggest slavetrading country in recorded history.

          As a fellow Dutchman I think we shouldn’t brag about what “made our small country big and prosperous”, we should be ashamed by it.

          1. Wow, didn’t know we beat the Germans in being the most guilty country of the world.

            Strange subject for a F1 discussion forum …

            You seem to have some complexes with our history but maybe you have to understand that you can only judge history when you take in account the standards, views and reality of the time things happened, not only with your 2017 opinion.
            And are you aware that all those African slaves were bought from other African kingdoms and traders. Slavery has been part of history of mankind from the beginning of times. It’s a bad thing, I agree but it was there always, and especially within the African culture. The Dutch didn’t invent it. Further more: there have been studies to see how much of Dutch prosperity is the result of slavery. That was less then 5%…….

            1. @dutch-1 If we run track and I’d knee-cap you for life, I would have only won 1 race against you, but you stand no chance ever again…

              But, you’re right. This is an F1 forum so let’s it here.

      4. If you find Finn jokes funny, you certainly shouldn’t take offence to this. AND he apologized.

        1. Easy when you have a RedBull PR minion that is paid to apologise for your mistakes without you even knowing you made one in the first place.

      5. @lancesuk
        I’ve got another nice politically incorrect cheesehead story for you:
        Google: “Dijsselbloem drink women”

        (I don’t know if it is allowed to post direct links in the comment section, so you’ll have to find it yourself.)

        1. Political incorrect maybe, but the southern European country knew exactly what he meant by it: using EU Euro’s for consumption only instead of strengthening their economy. It’s the same story as we have seen the last 40 years now and then only a few countries (most of all Germany) have to pay the bill. So I don’t see he problem with that Dijsselbloem story.

    14. Antoon van Gemert
      18th April 2017, 8:35

      What a fuss about nothing! If a Brazilian would made that same statement about the Dutch, nobody would care in the Netherlands! We can take a joke, especially hard jokes! Nevertheless, I suppose it was the only right thing to do for Max, because Felipe Massa stirred the whole Brazil-row massivley up by responding with a threat to Max by saying ‘that he has to take care of his words, because he still has to visit Brazil this year’. His countrymen understood the message and bombarded the social media of Max Verstappen with angry and insulting messages. Felipe Massa is certainly not the nice person everyone takes him for and should follow the brave move of Max and apologize to Verstappen. Also I think that the FIA should penalize Massa for this verbal threat. We know from the past what Alain Prost had to endure with the Brazilians….

      1. Do you honestly believe what you write?Verbal threat?Massa being punished?Ok,you are Dutch,support Max but this it utterly ridiculus!

        1. Antoon van Gemert
          18th April 2017, 12:08

          Yes, I always believe what I write. Felipe Massa did exactly the same thing where he Verstappen accused off, and that with all his expierence. He should have known better. Yes, it was a verbal threat, because all the Brazilians went loose on Max after the comments from Massa and his warning to Max that he still has to visit Brazil. Did you read some of those comments? And yes, I still think he should be reprimanded in some kind of way by the FIA. Because also Felipe Massa “should take care of his words…”

      2. Some facts for you:
        -Massa didn’t trigger any reactios,Brazilians just expressed what they thought about Verstappen’s comments
        -There was no threat from Massa and stop attacking him.You try to make Massa seem the bad,while Verstappen started the whole thing.If someone knows a bit Massa,he is not a guy that creates controvesy
        -Max post was the right think,but it wasn’t “brave”,but a PR move
        -If someone needs to be penalized,is Verstappen for what he said.Massa’s Q3 move was legal,clever and didn’t brake any rule
        With friendly regrats✌✌

        1. How are you so sure about the PR thing?

          1. @pratyushp276 Firstly,RBR didnt even though that there was “a thing” after Q3,so they would want to end this “story”.Secontly,he saw what mess happened on Insta,so he end

            1. *he would end the story with a nice writed post.What i believe is that media made a big fuss & both drivers have already forgot it

        2. Antoon van Gemert
          18th April 2017, 12:34

          -O yes he did. It all went loose after his comments to the Brazilian press.
          -If you warn a driver “that he still has to visit Brazil”, that’s a clear threat. Yes, Verstappen started the row, but Massa made things unnecessary worse.
          -It was the only sensible thing to do after Massa stirred up the “Brazil-row”, and yes also pr-wise.
          -Why should Max be penalized? It was just a cynic response in the heat of the moment. Never heard of freedom of speech? Yes your right that Max was wrong accusing Massa for his failed final run in Q3.

          1. Look,from what i saw on Instagram,Twitter,etc,Brazilians were angry a day before Massa’s comments(Saturday night after qualy,while Massa reacted Sunday morning).Massa,as a Brazilian, and knowing how easily Brazilians can get pasiionate about sports + knowing that the country is political instable,warned him about what he said,in order to make sure he wouldn’t have issues when coming to Brazil.Last year Ecclestone’s mother in law was kidnapped,so Massa’s words were mostly protecting,rather than threatening.As for the penalties i mentioned,none of them should get any & i honestly think both drivers have alreaey talked & solved their “differences”

            1. Antoon van Gemert
              18th April 2017, 20:30

              Your first remark is true, but after Massa’s comments the real bombardment started, so he fueled the row, resulting in true Brazilian hate towards Max. That’s what I blaming Massa for. On sunday-morning he made some comments, even about a conversation between him and Max, that shoud have stayed private by the way, but of course he talked already after qualifying to the Brazilian Press, who saw spectacular headlines that sells newspapers! Maybe you see it as a good advice, but I still see it as a threat without any doubt. And yes I still think that Massa should be reprimanded for his dangerous verbal comments. Maybe it’s a good idea that the FIA does something in Russia to get the cold out of the air, not between the drivers, because rivalry between drivers is always good for the sport, but some kind of statement from Massa to his fellow countrymen. Max has done what he had to do, now it’s Massa’s turn.

            2. Antoon van Gemert
              18th April 2017, 21:35

              Well, strangely enough I just read a new comment from Massa that he made today, in which he tells that he accepts the apology from Max and that he has no problems with the Dutchman: “I have no problems with him and to be honest I was just joking with him and I think he understood because afterwards he said sorry and that’s the way it needs to be.” Still……no apology from Massa himself towards Max for his unnecessary verbal threat, that’s probably ‘a bridge too far’ for a Brazilian. Nevertheless, I hope that this will calm the Brazilians down.

    15. With his 19 years he’s already a better racer and a better human being than massa. Granted, lighthearted or not, his comment can be interpreted as an insult, but Massa’s behaviour on track and his comments afterwards are not something you expect from somebody almost twice Verstappens age.

      1. I agree. Why does Massa need to make all he said to Max, one to one, public? While I respect Massa and think he’s an awesome person, I think this was an attention seeking move by him – he certainly didn’t say anything wrong, but making those sayings public is kind of over the top

      2. A better human being? It’s hilarious how fans can get deluded and believe they know the human behind the famous person facade? How would anyone know who’s the better person lol….

      3. Massa is a good man with a very good heart and he loves his country dearly. As far as Max is concerned, when you are on the International stage regardless of your youth, you should show more thought when you speak. Come on Max, you are rich and well educated, put 2 and 2 together and grow up a little and do yourself a favor and grow up fast, your rich father can pay for some lessons on how to do so.

    16. Possible explanation might be that Verstappen also is a sim-racer and Brazilians have a certain reputation in sim-racing circles:

    17. Storm in a teacup type stuff, but that’s PC for you. Putting to the side the fact that this type of statement is made in a heat-of-battle, raw-emotion state, the irony of this is that by protesting before the allegedly offending party has the opportunity to compose themselves, the accuser is guilty of prejudging and assuming the worst. The only level-headed, rational response is: “could you please elaborate?”.

      Hopefully the story at Interlagos this year is a thickened plot in which VER is in with a shout of his first WDC against 3 or more others.

    18. I can’t understand the notion that Massa’s words are threatening. What are they suggesting? That Massa conspires with his compatriots to physically harm Verstappen on home soil? This is absurd. About Verstappen we already know that he is incapable of acknowledging his mistakes so RBR issued a statement in his behalf…

    19. Max said something stupid and he is young and it is expected. Let’s accept Max’s apology and move on. Enough said!

      1. Antoon van Gemert
        19th April 2017, 13:48

        I don’t know if Max said ‘something stupid’. Even after his apology and the comments yesterday from Massa, the Brazilians are still at it (read the comments of the last message on the Instagram-account from Red Bull Racing), apparantly they just don’t want to listen, let alone forgive Max for his in-the-heat-of-the-moment comment. So, indeed there’s not much to discuss with Brazilians! Maybe it’s just the darkside of the internet where ‘brave’ people, mainly hiding behind nicknames, make bold statements. I always loved the Brazilian passion (and oh how they shouted last year for Max!) for Formula One, with great and legendary drivers like Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and the one and only Ayrton Senna, but my respect (the most misused word in the world!) for Brazil is slowly but surely fading away……

    20. Has anyone stopped to consider that what he meant by “a Brazilian” is that as a Brazilian, Massa is extremely competitive and will do whatever they can to gain an edge?

      Why do people instantly assume the worst?

    21. Whew! The lengths people go to, to excuse Max Verstappen’s classic xenophobe statement is astounding. Besides being incredibly immature, Verstappen knows exactly what about Brazilian people? He knows nothing… but, then again, he obviously feels privileged enough to take broad brush a country of people almost completely outside of his cultural perceptions or real life experience.

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