What did Nelson Piquet say? F1 and Mercedes condemn racism after slur against Lewis Hamilton
Reports in Brazil claim an interview conducted following the 2021 British Grand Prix has surfaced in which Piquet, 69, twice used the term ‘neguinho’ to describe Hamilton when discussing a collision with his title-rival Max Verstappen, which saw the Dutchman retire from the race.
“The neguinho put the car in the wrong way and didn’t let [the other driver swerve],” he told Brazilian publication Estadao in a video released on Monday.
Piquet, who is the father of Verstappen's current girlfriend, added: “The neguinho put the car in the wrong way on the corner, it’s because you don’t know the curve. It’s a very high curve, there is no way to pass two cars and there’s no way you can put the car aside. He did [Verstappen] dirty. His luck was that only the other one was gone.”
The comments have only just come to light and Formula One issued a statement immediately supporting seven-time champion Hamilton.
"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," it read.
"His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1."
Mercedes, too, highlighted the matter as a reason to "strive for a brighter future".
"We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind," their statement read.
"Lewis has spearheaded our sport's efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track.
"Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underlines the fundamental importance of continuing to strive for a brighter future."
Hamilton responded to the story coming to light by calling for action.
The seven-time world champion posted 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."
He had earlier tweeted in Portuguese "Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade", translated as "Let's focus on changing the mindset".
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