Nelson Piquet has apologised after using a racial slur against the 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in an interview that surfaced days ago.
Piquet used a racially offensive term when describing Hamilton in a Brazilian podcast that while was recorded last year, surfaced earlier this week. Now, the world of motorsport has lit up in response to this with titans of the industry showing their report for the British driver. Even F1 has released a statement to defend the driver.
Now, Piquet himself has released a statement, apologising about his language but still defending the use of the word:
“I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it,” said Piquet, a three-time F1 champion.
“But I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.
“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. 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 apologise wholeheartedly 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.”
Piquet is the father of Max Verstappen’s partner Kelly, who are both yet to comment on this. But a number of drivers have such as Charles Leclerc of Ferrari:
“Knowing Lewis since I arrived in F1, he has always been extremely respectful to me and everyone that he meets.
“Those values should be the standard towards anybody around the world.
“The comments made towards Lewis should not be tolerated. We should continue to push for a more diverse and inclusive sport.
“We need to remove discriminatory behaviour and racist language in any form, from not just our sport, but our society as well.”
Hamilton’s teammate George Russell also commented:
“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 behaviour is unacceptable. We all need to stand together against discrimination of any kind.”