Lewis Hamilton slammed Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko for “completely unacceptable” comments blaming Mexican Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez’s fluctuating form on his ethnicity.
However, on Thursday, Perez told reporters separately, ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, that he had accepted a personal apology from the 80-year-old Austrian, an influential member of his dominant Formula 1 team’s leadership.
Mercedes driver and seven times world champion Hamilton told reporters Marko’s words were “not something that you just apologise (for) and it’s all OK”.
“To have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forwards,” said the 38-year-old Briton. “I think it just highlights, firstly, the work that still needs to be done.
Lewis: That just stops us from progressing
“There are a lot of people in the background that really are trying to combat these sorts of things but it’s hard to manoeuvre if there are people in the top that have those sort of mindsets, that just stop us from progressing,” reckoned Hamilton.
Marko had spoken initially about Perez on Red Bull’s Servus television station, his comments making headlines across the internet with Mexican Grand Prix organisers also issuing a statement of support for their driver.
Perez told reporters: “I got an apology from him, a direct apology, which to me was the most important one. I know him, and I know that he doesn’t mean it that way as well. That to me is what matters.
“When you have a personal relationship with someone, it’s a feeling that you’ve got to have and to me that’s the most important one,” added the 33-year-old, who joined Red Bull in 2021 and has won two races so far this season.
Perez, the winner in Singapore last year, is 145 points behind Verstappen after 14 of 22 races with Red Bull winning every round so far. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)