Factory Audi pilot Kelvin van der Linde has issued an apology to Liam Lawson on social media, following the German driver’s collision with the Kiwi during last weekend’s title decider.
Van der Linde has copped flack from all corners (including Red Bull’s Helmut Marko) for clashing with Lawson at the Norisring’s famous turn one, arguably costing Lawson a historic championship crown.
In the wake of the event, van der Linde has been the subject of numerous tirades on the DTM’s official social media channels, as well as responses to the race from pundits and drivers from other disciplines.
“After Sunday’s race, I decided to turn away from social media and reflect on everything that happened. In that time I wanted to make sure to contact the person who most deserved an apology. Liam and I spoke last night,” said van der Linder.
“We spoke about everything that happened and I apologised for the actions that cost him the championship.
“I also apologised for how I handled the media directly after the race. I was full of adrenaline and had a microphone stuck in my face as I got out of the car without seeing what happened on TV. I didn’t handle it well and I’m not proud of that.”
Van der Linde notably didn’t address his comments on social media, where he posted that “in a year where many things happened, the right guy won today”, in relation to eventual championship winner Maximillian Gotz. That comment has since been deleted.
Instead, van der Linde focused on the abuse he’s received on social media in the days since.
“On a sporting side everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Us drivers are forced to make high stake decision within a split second of time. Those are not always the right ones and they often have serious consequences,” he added.
“The social abuse which I received during the last week leave a sad taste in my mouth and will take time to process. The only thing I will say to those that felt the need to write those things: You don’t know me, you don’t know my family and you definitely haven’t walked a day in my shoes. Sport is sport. But never ever forget that there are real people behind it all. I do not wish any of that on any human being.
“I will be back here next year. And I will do many things better. Kelvin.”