Nelson Piquet apologizes to Lewis Hamilton for comments but denies racial intent

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Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet’s apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula One paddock will react.

Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reviews Nelson Piquet’s apology to Lewis Hamilton and explains how the Formula One paddock will react.

Nelson Piquet apologized “wholeheartedly” to Lewis Hamilton but “strongly condemns any suggestion” that he racially abused his fellow Formula 1 world champion, claiming his comments have been mistranslated.

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

It led to widespread condemnation from across the F1 paddock, with Hamilton himself calling for “action” and insisting that “archaic mindsets must change and have no place in our sport”.

On Wednesday, Piquet issued his own statement saying he wanted to “set the stories straight.”

“What I said was badly thought out and I’m not defending it,” said Piquet, a three-time F1 champion.

“But I will clarify that the term used is one that has historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘boy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.

“I would never use the word that I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me for the purpose of disparaging a driver because of the color of their skin.”

“I sincerely apologize to everyone who was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media now circulating on social media is not correct.

“Discrimination has no place in F1 or in society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts on this.”

Sky sports news He understands that Piquet will not be allowed back in the paddock after his comments, which were made last November when the crash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the 2021 British GP was brought up.

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

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

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.

Piquet is not welcome in the F1 paddock

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater:

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

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

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

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

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

“Let’s see what the drivers, team bosses and others have to say over the next 24 hours. Thursday is media day at Silverstone and we’ll be getting feedback from everyone who competes in the event.”

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

“He has apologized but it is my understanding that this has gone beyond the bounds and for the foreseeable future he will not be welcome back in the Formula 1 paddock.”

F1 condemns Piquet’s comments, drivers show support for Hamilton

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

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was the first to endorse Hamilton, posting on social media: “Huge respect for LH. He has done more for the sport than any driver in history, not just on the track but outside her”.

“The fact that he and so many others STILL have to deal with this behavior is unacceptable. We must all stand together against discrimination of any kind.”

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also criticized Piquet’s comments. Writing on Twitter, he said: “I have known Lewis since I came to Formula 1, he has always been kind and respectful to me and everyone he meets. Those values ​​should be the standard for anyone around the world.”

“Comments made towards Lewis must not be tolerated, and we must continue to push for a more diverse and inclusive sport. We need to remove discriminatory behavior and racist language in any form not only from our sport, but also from our society.”

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo also showed his support for Hamilton, posting a message on Instagram that read: “Discrimination and racism have no place in this sport or in our society. Those who still choose to spread hate and use those words are not friends. mine”.

“I want to recognize Lewis and all the work he has done both on and off the track to not only spread messages of equality but also to combat that hate.

“I have never faced any racially motivated action, but he has throughout his life. However, each time his response to hate is motivated by maturity, positivity and educating the world on how we should act.” .

“I am with him and I will do my best to follow and support him.

Similar sentiments were also echoed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who also took to Instagram and wrote: “All racist and discriminatory language has absolutely nothing to do with our sport and our society. Enough is enough.

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

He has done a lot for F1, on and off the track, and we are proud to have him at the forefront of our fight for greater diversity and inclusion in motorsport.

“I support Lewis and his continued efforts to make the sport we love a better place for everyone.”

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