Wednesday, 12 september 2018, 07:08 , by Matthew Scott
Maurizio Arrivabene has revealed he apologised to Valtteri Bottas after likening the Mercedes driver to a butler after the Italian Grand Prix. Bottas assisted Lewis Hamilton's victory at Monza after Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel's punchy start had seen the German lose out.
Bottas has twice been given team orders this season, told to stand down from attacking Hamilton in Germany before his strategy was altered to assist Hamilton in Italy as the Finn backed Raikkonen into his team-mate, shredding his countryman's tyres in the process.
When Arrivabene was asked why Ferrari had not given similar orders to Raikkonen to boost Vettel's title chances, the Ferrari boss said he "hired drivers, not butlers" a clearly pointed message towards Bottas.
With Hamilton having moved 30 points clear of Vettel in the drivers' standings, Arrivabene says his comment came in the heat of the moment, claiming Bottas had understood his motives.
"As soon as I said it in the heat of the battle, I knew it would create controversy," Arrivabene told Autosprint.
"Since then I have exchanged messages with Valtteri Bottas. I wanted to apologise to him and understand what I meant.
"It had slipped out but it's not a label I want to use for Bottas. I appreciate his response very much that he understood."
Arrivabene stood by Ferrari's decision not to favour Vettel in their home race, despite it opening the door for Hamilton to win and extend his championship lead.
"I just instructed them to not do anything stupid," Arrivabene added. "It was said that Kimi did something unfavourable to Sebastian, but what should he have done?
"It is completely wrong to point the finger when there are still so many races to go.
"I answer for the whole team, so it doesn't matter who made a mistake – the driver or the team. Someone must answer, and this person is me."