3-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet has come out and apologized to Lewis Hamilton for the comments he made in an interview last year. In a quote that surfaced online recently, it appeared that the Brazilian F1 legend had used racial slurs to describe Lewis Hamilton.
What followed was significant social media outrage against Piquet’s comments about Hamilton, with calls raised for the Brazilian to be banned from the F1 paddock permanently. Now, in an official statement, Piquet apologized “wholeheartedly” to the Briton and anyone who was affected. He, however, did clarify that the term was widely used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for “Guy” or “Person” and there was no malice intended as was suggested by the media. The statement read:
“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, 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 is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”
What did Nelson Piquet say about Lewis Hamilton?
In a podcast episode of Motorsport Talk, a Brazilian motorsport podcast, it was discovered that Nelson Piquet used a racial slur last season while describing the events of the 2021 F1 British GP crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. According to CNN Brazil, Piquet had said:
“The little n****r [Lewis Hamilton] put the car in and left because there was no way to pass two cars on that corner. He made a joke. Lucky for him, only the other one [Max Verstappen] got f****d up.”
Multiple teams and drivers came out in support of Hamilton after this resurfaced, while the seven-time champion stressed on action as there has been plenty of time to learn from all of this.