Max Verstappen breaks silence after Lewis Hamilton tears apart Helmut Marko

Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has addressed the controversy over Helmut Marko’s remarks about Sergio Perez's background.

As the Formula 1 world gears up for the Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has strongly condemned recent comments made by Red Bull’s motorsport adviser, Helmut Marko, regarding Sergio Perez’s ethnicity, describing them as “completely unacceptable.”

Marko’s comments came after Perez’s strong performance at the Italian Grand Prix, where he finished second behind his Red Bull teammate, Max Verstappen. 

Marko seemed to reference Perez’s Mexican heritage while discussing the driver’s inconsistent form this season, saying, “Let’s remember that he (Perez) is South American and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastien Vettel was.”

Despite Marko subsequently issuing both public and private apologies to Perez, Hamilton, a seven-time F1 world champion, remained firm in his stance that the comments were inappropriate. 

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Hamilton, 38, stated, “This is not something you just apologise for, and it is all okay.”

He continued, “While we say there is no room for any type of discrimination in this sport, and there should be no room for it, to have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forward. 

“But it is not my team and not how we move as a team. 

“We still have a lot of work to do to make this a more inclusive environment.”

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Perez, 33, also addressed the situation during the Singapore Grand Prix media session, revealing that Marko had personally apologised to him after issuing a public apology. 

Perez emphasised the importance of the apology, stating, “I had a private conversation with him. 

“He did apologise, and that, to me, was the main thing.”

The Red Bull driver, who has a personal relationship with Marko, added that he did not believe Marko’s comments were xenophobic. 

“I took his apology because I know, from the personal relationships that we’ve had, that he doesn’t mean it that way,” Perez explained.

Max Verstappen, Perez’s teammate at Red Bull and the dominant force in this season’s Formula 1 races, also weighed in on the controversy. 

Verstappen stated, “I don’t think I’m the right person to educate Helmut [on using more responsible language], but I think he quickly realised what he said, and he apologised for it.”

Verstappen emphasised the importance of moving forward after recognising and correcting mistakes, echoing the approach taken by the Red Bull team. 

READ: Lando Norris forgives Lewis Hamilton 

“When people realise they made a mistake and they correct it, for me, you move forward – and that’s also exactly what we do as a team,” Verstappen concluded.

Amid speculation about his future at Red Bull, Sergio Perez affirmed his commitment to the team for the near term. 

He stated, “For me, I’m staying here for another year. Then we will see; it’s how I see things.”