Lewis Hamilton Calls for 'Action' and Condemns Former Champ Nelson Piquet for Using Racial Slur Towards Him

·4 min read
Nelson Piquet, Lewis Hamilton
Nelson Piquet, Lewis Hamilton

Mark Thompson/Getty; Kevin Mazur/MG21/Getty

Lewis Hamilton is calling for action.

After a 2021 interview with Brazilian Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet where he used a racial slur against Hamilton surfaced this week, Formula One, Mercedes, the FIA and Hamilton himself have condemned the former driver.

In the interview, Piquet used the Portuguese equivalent of the n-word when addressing seven-time champion Hamilton as he talked about a collision between him and Max Verstappen during the Silverstone Grand Prix last year. Piquet also claims that Hamilton had intended to crash into Verstappen and eliminate him from the competition. Verstappen in currently dating Piquet's daughter, Kelly, CNN reports.

Hamilton, 37, then went to Twitter on Tuesday to call out Piquet. "Let's focus on changing the mentality," Hamilton tweeted in Portuguese.

"It's more than language," he continued in English in another tweet. "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."

RELATED: Max Verstappen Beats Lewis Hamilton in the Last Lap for His First F1 Title

Formula 1 also defended Hamilton in a statement shared on Twitter. "Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society," F1 said. "Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect."

The statement continued, "His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1."

Hamilton's sponsor, the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team, also released a statement in support of the athlete. "We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind," said the statement via Twitter on Tuesday.

"Lewis has spearheaded our sport's efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track," the F1 team stated.

"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."

Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, also supported the driver. "The FIA strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behaviour, which have no place in sport or wider society," the statement via Twitter read. "We express our solidarity with @LewisHamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motor sport."

RELATED: F1 Star Lewis Hamilton Launches Partnership to Hire 150 Black STEM Teachers: 'Incredibly Proud'

This is far from the first time Hamilton has been vocal about anti-racism with his fans. In an interview with WSJ. Magazine in November, Hamilton recounted deciding to wear a black T-shirt before and after a race in 2020 that read "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" on the front, with an image of Taylor on the back and the words "Say her name." Taylor, 26, was shot and killed inside her home by police in March of that year.

Hamilton said that he knew that in order for his shirt to really make an impact, he needed to win the race: "I can't be second. I'm wearing that shirt; I've got to get to first to bring light to her name."

Luckily, Hamilton won — and then the fears kicked in. "I get these nerves like, 'Shoot, I'm about to break the rules and people aren't going to be happy with it,' " he recounted of his feelings before stepping onto the podium.

Formula 1 subsequently changed the rules about what drivers can wear on the podium after races. Hamilton takes the fairly obvious reaction to his statement in stride: "Well, they've changed a lot of rules after a lot of things that I've done."

RELATED: Formula 1 Driver Lewis Hamilton Says He Owes His Success to His Dad: 'He's the Real Hero'

Hamilton also talked to the outlet about being the lone Black driver to reach the top of Formula 1, and the other sports icons that he's looked to on his journey.

"My dad and I would watch people like Tiger [Woods] who kind of broke the mold, and we watched in admiration. The Williams sisters also did the same," he said. "We're like, 'Oh, if we could do something like that, that's going to help change the industry moving forward.' "

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Clive Mason/Getty

He previously spoke to PEOPLE about the challenges of being Black and growing up on the racing circuit, and how he moved through. He said at the time, "We had things thrown at us, particularly a lot of words, but my dad said, 'Do your talking on the track,' because I'm a fighter. I got bullied at school, so I always wanted to be able to defend myself, or fight back, but my dad's like, 'Do your talking on the track.' "

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