Maurizio Arrivabene apologises for Valtteri Bottas 'butler' remark

F1 Grand Prix of Italy

Maurizio Arrivabene has told reporters he has apologised to Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, having referred to him as a 'butler' in the aftermath of the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's victory was assisted by Bottas' holding up tactics, that prevented Ferrari's Raikkonen from keeping 1st place.

Although both drivers finished in the top four, with the Ferrari ace achieving a podium place, there was some suggestion the Finn could have done something similar to help his teammate Sebastian Vettel close the gap on championship rival Hamilton.

But Ferrari chief, Arrivabene hit back by claiming his team hires 'drivers, not butlers' - a very unsubtle dig and Bottas for his compliance.

He has since expressed his regret at the comment, however, and contacted Bottas directly.

“As soon as I said it in the heat of the battle, I knew it would create a controversy,” Arrivabene said, per Planet F1.

“Since then I have exchanged messages with Valtteri Bottas. I wanted to apologise to him and understand what I meant.

Bottas played a key role in Hamilton's win

“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.”

It was a frustrating afternoon all round for the team, as Vettel appeared to be blocked slightly by Raikkonen in the lead up to Turn 1 and he later spun and had to fight from the back of the pack.

Ferrari had no team orders in place for the home Grand Prix and the drivers were told "not to do anything stupid", said Arrivabene.

"It was said that Kimi did something unfavourable," the Italian continued, in reference to the covering off, "but what should he have done?

Raikkonen and Vettel got a little too close for comfort

"What he did is exactly what Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel would have done."

Bottas' late tactics and the comments made by Arrivabene represent the latest episode in a series of debates over F1 driver equality.

Daniel Ricciardo's departure from Red Bull came in light of allegations over Max Verstappen's superiority, while Hamilton has been made a clear priority in Mercedes's team strategy.

Despite Ferrari's insistence over a level-playing field between Raikkonen and Vettel, the team would be better advised in many's eyes, to prioritise the German and utilise Raikkonen as a support driver, as Mercedes have done to great effect with Hamilton and Bottas.

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