Nelson Piquet apologizes for making racial slur about Lewis Hamilton

Nelson Piquet has apologized for a racial slur he used to describe Lewis Hamilton and said the word he used has been taken out of the context he intended.

A Formula One source told ESPN that Piquet, a three-time world champion, has been banned indefinitely from visiting the F1 paddock in the future as punishment for his comments.

The 69-year-old used a racial slur about Hamilton while blaming him for his collision with Max Verstappen, the boyfriend of Piquet’s daughter Kelly, at last year’s British Grand Prix. The comments were made in Portuguese on a podcast last November, but only came to light this week.

Hamilton tweeted in response to it on Tuesday, saying “these archaic mindsets need to change,” while F1, several teams and drivers all issued statements in support of the British driver and condemning racism.

On Wednesday, Piquet issued a statement of apology and claimed the word does not have a racial connotation in Brazil.

“I would like to clear the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year,” Piquet said.

“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defense for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used in Brazilian Portuguese for a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.

“I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour. I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was one of the drivers to issue a statement in support of Hamilton.

“Knowing Lewis since I arrived in Formula 1, he has always been kind and respectful to me and everyone that he meets. Those values ​​should be the standard towards anybody around the world,” Leclerc said. “The comments made towards Lewis should not be tolerated, and we should continue to push for a more diverse and inclusive sport. We need to remove discriminatory behavior and racist language in any form from not just our sport, but our society as well.”

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo praised Hamilton for how the seven-time world champion continually deals with racism in the same fashion.

“Those who still choose to spread hate and use those words are no friend of mine,” Ricciardo said. “I want to acknowledge Lewis and all the work he has done both on and off the track to not only spread messages of equality but combat that hate.

“I’ve never dealt with any racially motivated actions, but he has for his entire life. Yet, each time his response to the motivated hate is by maturity, positivity and educating the world on how we should act. I stand with him and will do whatever I can to follow and support.”

Hamilton teammate George Russell tweeted: “Huge respect to LH. He has done more for the sport than any driver in history, not just on track but off it. The fact that he and so many others are STILL having to deal with this behavior is unacceptable. We all need to stand together against discrimination of any kind.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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