Felipe Massa has revealed he warned Max Verstappen to be “careful” about what he says, after the Red Bull driver made a light-hearted comment about Brazilians over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.
Verstappen was angry with Massa after qualifying, when he felt that his preparation lap ahead of his Q3 run was wrecked when the Williams car dived inside him ahead of the final corner.
Asked afterwards 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.
Massa himself became aware of the feedback, and confronted Verstappen ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix to discuss the matter.
Speaking to Brazilian radio station UOL Esporte on Sunday night, 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’.
“Without a doubt, it was not right to speak about Brazilians without even knowing what he was talking about.”
Massa added that he was also baffled by Verstappen’s criticisms, because he did not feel that he had done anything wrong in going past him in qualifying.
“He didn’t know what he was talking about, because I didn’t do anything that bothered him,” said Massa. “Maybe he wanted to find a reason for being beaten by his teammate – and he needed someone to blame.
“I told him, ‘The same thing happened between [Nico] Hulkenberg] and myself, and did you see anyone complaining?’ Before you start a lap, you have to be in the best possible position. If you are not able to do that, it’s your own fault.”
Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov and Gabriel Carvalho