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Nelson Piquet racism row escalates as perceived homophobic slur against Lewis Hamilton emerges


Nelson Piquet used another racist slur along with perceived homophobic language in reference to Lewis Hamilton in an interview in 2021, it has emerged.

An interview with Piquet on a Brazilian podcast from last year surfaced this week, in which he twice used a racially offensive expression when referring to Hamilton.

But further footage has now emerged of Piquet making more offensive comments about the Mercedes driver.

Speaking on the podcast, Piquet said: “Keke [Rosberg] was s***. He’s worthless. His son won a championship.”

Asked whether he was referring to Nico, he said of Hamilton: “The [racist term] must have been [perceived homophobic slur] at the time. He was pretty bad.”

The three-time former world champion has already apologized “wholeheartedly” to Hamilton for separate comments which emerged earlier this week, but “strongly condemns any suggestion” he racially abused his fellow Formula 1 world champion. I have claimed his comments from him have been mis-translated.

Lewis Hamilton responds to comments made by Nelson Piquet and thinks 'older voices' in motorsport should not be given a platform as they do not represent the majority

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Lewis Hamilton responds to comments made by Nelson Piquet and thinks ‘older voices’ in motorsport should not be given a platform as they do not represent the majority

Lewis Hamilton responds to comments made by Nelson Piquet and thinks ‘older voices’ in motorsport should not be given a platform as they do not represent the majority

Piquet’s comments led to widespread condemnation from the whole F1 paddock, with Hamilton himself calling for “action” and insisting that “archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport”.

On Wednesday, Piquet issued his own statement where he said he wanted to “clear up the stories.”

“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defense for it,” Piquet said.

“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 apologize 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.”

Sky SportsNews understands that Piquet will not be allowed back into the paddock after his comments, which were made last November when discussing the crash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the 2021 British GP.

Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner gives his thoughts on Nelson Piquet's racial slur towards Lewis Hamilton, as well as looking at the importance of team principal meetings within F1

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Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner gives his thoughts on Nelson Piquet’s racial slur towards Lewis Hamilton, as well as looking at the importance of team principal meetings within F1

Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner gives his thoughts on Nelson Piquet’s racial slur towards Lewis Hamilton, as well as looking at the importance of team principal meetings within F1

In response, Hamilton sent a series of tweets. He said: “It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”

He also tweeted “Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade”, which is Portuguese for “Let’s focus on changing the mentality.”

Piquet is the father of Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet, and, although the Red Bull driver has condemned his girlfriend’s father’s comments, he has insisted the 69-year-old is “definitely not a racist.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of this weekend’s British GP, the reigning world champion said: “Everyone is against racism, I think it’s very straight.

Max Verstappen believes education on racism should be taught at a younger age after there were recent incidents of racist slurs in motorsport

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Max Verstappen believes education on racism should be taught at a younger age after there were recent incidents of racist slurs in motorsport

Max Verstappen believes education on racism should be taught at a younger age after there were recent incidents of racist slurs in motorsport

“I think the wording that was used, even though of course we have different kind of cultures and [they were] things that were said when they were younger, is not correct.

“Let it be a lesson in the future not to use that word, because it’s very offensive and especially nowadays, it gets even more traction.

“I’ve spent a bit of time with Nelson, and he’s definitely not a racist and he’s actually a really nice and relaxed guy.

“The statement he released, you can see the word in two ways but I think it’s still better not to use it.

“It’s not only about that word, using offensive language to anyone, any colour, is not correct. That’s to anyone in the world, not just to Lewis specifically.”

‘It’s disgusting’ – Sky Sports pundits condemn Piquet comments

Sky F1's Jenson Button, Martin Brundle and Karun Chandhok have condemned the racist language used by Nelson Piquet towards Lewis Hamilton

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Sky F1’s Jenson Button, Martin Brundle and Karun Chandhok have condemned the racist language used by Nelson Piquet towards Lewis Hamilton

Sky F1’s Jenson Button, Martin Brundle and Karun Chandhok have condemned the racist language used by Nelson Piquet towards Lewis Hamilton

Karun Chandhok: “Lewis speaks so eloquently on the subject. This is not a topic which should be taken lightly. It’s disgusting. Why not just call him Lewis? He’s a racing driver, like all the others on the grid. I don’t get it. I just don’t understand what goes through people’s mind when they use this sort of terminology.”

Jenson Button: “To use the excuse that in his country it doesn’t mean the same thing… he’s a very international man! He’s won multiple world championships, so you have to act like that. It’s inexcusable.”

Martin Brundle: “I raced against Nelson back in the day and I’ve known him 40 years. He was always cheeky, he never knew where the line was in terms of personal comments but this is just a whole new level. Why on earth does he need to say those things? There’s more to come as well by the sounds of it in some other translations. Massively disappointed in Nelson that he would feel the need to talk like that.”

‘Piquet not welcome in F1 paddock’

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater:

“My understanding is that Nelson Piquet, notwithstanding this apology that has come out, for the foreseeable future at least will not be welcome in the Formula 1 paddock.

“I think these remarks which he made, the language that he used in this interview from November last year, has registered deeply with those in leadership positions in the sport.

Relive Lewis Hamilton's huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year's British Grand Prix

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Relive Lewis Hamilton’s huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix

Relive Lewis Hamilton’s huge crash with title rival Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix

“Let’s see what the drivers, team bosses and others make of it in the next 24 hours. It’s half day at Silverstone on Thursday and we will get the views of all of those competing in the event.

“Piquet has spoken of colloquialisms in Brazilian-Portuguese, which has been a part of controversies we have had related to this in the past involving other high-profile sportsmen.

“He has given an apology, but my understanding is this has been beyond the pale and that for the foreseeable future he will not be welcome back into the Formula 1 paddock.”

F1 condemns Piquet comments, drivers show Hamilton support

Piquet’s comments were strongly criticized by the F1 and governing body FIA, while drivers and teams also voiced their support for Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver and seven-time champion.

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell was first to back Hamilton, posting on social media: “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.”

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also criticized Piquet’s comments. Writing on Twitter, he said: “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.

“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 also showed his support for Hamilton, posting a message on Instagram that read: “Discrimination and racism has no place in this sport or our society. Those who still choose to spread hate and use those words are no friend of mine.

“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.

Similar sentiments were also echoed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who also took to Instagram, writing: “All racist and discriminatory language has absolutely no part in our sport and our society. Enough is enough.

“I’ve worked and spent time with Lewis over the years and know the kind of person he is. Always genuine and respectful with everyone around him.

“He has done so much for F1, on and off the track, and we are proud to have him at the forefront of our fight for further diversity and inclusion in motorsport.

“I stand with Lewis and his continued efforts to make the sport we love a better place for all.”

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