Simon Cowell has reportedly poked fun at Nicole Scherzinger's relationship with ex boyfriend Lewis Hamilton during filming for The X Factor
Nicole and Formula 1 Champion Lewis were together for seven years before breaking up in 2015.
The music mogul made a quip about Lewis when a contestant took to the stage to perform a song called Run during the Six Chair Challenge at the weekend.
“This song is about running away from bad things in your life," the budding performer told the panel.
Simon Cowell reacted: "What’s the song called? Run. Why does it make me think of Lewis Hamilton? He’s fast.
"Let’s dedicate that to Lewis, shall we?”
A shocked and unimpressed Nicole sarcastically replied: "Yeah, let’s dedicate those lyrics and that song to Lewis shall we?”
"It seemed an ill-timed joke and Sharon seemed to sense Nicole’s unease," a source told the Daily Mirror newspaper.
They added: “He was clearly suggesting Lewis ran away from Nicole and split up their relationship.”
The X Factor 2016 will air later this year on ITV.