Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has denied insulting Michael Schumacher by claiming that Sebastian Vettel is a superior character.
Arrivabene told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that Vettel reminded him in many ways of Schumacher, and said he felt that his personality was better.
"Michael was an introvert who opened up only to a small circle of people," said Arrivabene. "Seb is sunnier – the boys regard him as one of them."
Those comments created a stir, and prompted Arrivabene to make it clear that he had no intention of insulting Schumacher, who is still recovering at home from serious head injuries he suffered in a skiing accident.
In an interview with RTL, Arrivabene said:"It has generated a big controversy out of nothing. With all due respect I have always said that Michael and Seb are great players, great drivers and, of course, are different."
He added: "I pray for him every day, he is always in my heart. Michael is a great, great champion, and man. Just like Sebastian.
"This is what I said, but both are different people when you meet them. Michael is introverted. Seb is extroverted, That is all.
"I was very surprised by these reactions. Both are my great friends and if you knew Michael, you would know the great guy he is. With Seb it is simply easier to know him.
"My comments cannot be construed as offensive to Michael. Just the opposite."