Kelvin van der Linde says he has apologized to fellow DTM driver Liam Lawson after the controversial conclusion to last week’s series finale at the Norisring.
Van der Linde and Lawson were the two main title protagonists in the final race of the 2021 campaign, but came to blows on the opening lap when Van der Linde damaged Lawson’s Ferrari with an aggressive overtaking attempt at the first corner.
The move left Lawson with broken steering and unable to score points, which opened the door for Mercedes driver Maximilian Götz to take the title by three points over the Red Bull junior.
Van der Linde was widely criticised for the move. In a statement on his social media channels on Wednesday night, the Audi driver said that he had offered his apologies to Lawson for the incident.
“Liam and I spoke last night,” he wrote. “We spoke about everything that happened and I apologized for the actions that cost him the championship.”
“I also apologized 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 ultimately ended third in the championship standings behind Götz and Lawson. He also failed to score points after suffering a puncture following contact with Götz.
The South African was the target of ire on social media after the incident, something he says had an impact on him in the days after the race.
“On a sporting side everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Us drivers are forced to make high stake decisions within a split second of time. Those are not always the right ones and often have their consequences.”
“The social media abuse which I received during the last week leaves 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 mile in my shoes.”
“Sport is sport. But never 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.”