The Formula One community has denounced three-time world champion Nelson Piquet for using a racist epithet to describe 7-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
After last season’s British Grand Prix, when championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed on the opening lap at Silverstone, the 69-year-old Brazilian former F1 driver used the pejorative word in a podcast recorded in Portuguese. This week, word of the podcast surfaced.
Piquet, the father of Verstappen’s girlfriend Kelly Piquet, used a racial slur when criticising Hamilton for how he handled the first corner of the race. Hamilton was “fortunate” to stay in the race, Piquet continued.
George Russell publicly backs teammate Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton did not sit back in silence once the racist comments made by Nelson Piquet saw the light of the day. The Mercedes driver quickly reacted on Twitter: “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.”
Mercedes teammate and fellow British driver George Russell followed suit and came out in support of the 37-year-old driver. Russell mentioned on Twitter: “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.” This was with reference to Hamilton hitting back at Piquet on social media platforms.
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. https://t.co/E4c1jFQKtf
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) June 28, 2022
F1 also put out an official statement following the publicization of this issue. The statement read: “Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect.”