Piquet offers Hamilton apology but denies racial intent

By Sports Desk June 29, 2022

Nelson Piquet has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for his "ill-thought-out" comments, although the three-time Formula One champion denied his words were racist.

Media outlets in Brazil have this week highlighted an interview conducted with Piquet following the 2021 British Grand Prix, with the 69-year-old alleged to have used racist language when assessing the collision between Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Piquet's daughter, Kelly, is world champion Verstappen's partner.

Mercedes have come out in support of their man Hamilton – F1's only black driver – as have several rival teams and F1 itself, with the series reportedly set to ban Piquet from its paddock for life.

But the Brazilian, while apologising, has said his comments were mistranslated.

"I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year," he said in a statement.

"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 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."

Hamilton has been active on his Twitter page since the reports emerged.

"It's more than language," he posted. "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."

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    Max Verstappen - Red Bull

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    Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

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    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 255
    2. Lando Norris (McLaren) - 171
    3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) - 150
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    5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) - 124


    1. Red Bull - 373
    2. Ferrari - 302
    3. McLaren - 295
    4. Mercedes - 221
    5. Aston Martin - 68

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