Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly was hit with a deluge of 'tough' messages from Fernando Alonso's fans for jokingly repeating in Bahrain a comment made by the Spaniard in Melbourne.
Gasly finished an amazing fourth in Sakhir last weekend, a spectacular result which has gone a long way towards restoring Honda's level of performance following its depressing three-year stint with McLaren.
The Toro Rosso driver took in his achievement by crying out to his team over the radio "Now we can fight!", the same phrase used by Alonso when he finished fifth in Australia, and referred to a McLaren resurgence with Renault.
In China on Thursday, Gasly insisted the dig was just a joke, and a way of expressing his encouragements to Honda.
"For me it was simple, it was just a little joke. That was it," said the young Frenchman.
"I think we need to give credit back to Honda. In the end it was a really tough three years with McLaren and to finish P4 in just our second race with them is amazing so it was a way to give them back credit as they are working really hard and I think they need credit for the hard work they are doing."
The mischievous comment did not go down well however with the very serious Spanish fans of Alonso. Gasly set the record straight however.
"I've had some pretty tough messages after the race by some Spanish people, they were actually quite crazy, I have huge respect for Fernando so just to make it clear please don't get me wrong.
"Fernando is one of the best drivers of all time in Formula 1 and one of the drivers I looked at when I was young and one of my idols so I have a huge respect to him.
"It was nothing related to him it was a comment for Honda and I think they deserved the credit."