Lewis Hamilton says ‘archaic mindsets’ must change following Nelson Piquet slur

·3 min read

Lewis Hamilton insists “archaic mindsets” need to change after it emerged former Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet used a racial slur towards the Mercedes driver.

Reports in Brazil claim an interview conducted following the 2021 British Grand Prix has surfaced in which Piquet, 69, uses an offensive expression aimed at Hamilton.

The Brazilian, who won the world title on three occasions, is reported to have been discussing a collision between Hamilton and his rival Max Verstappen on the opening lap at Silverstone which saw the Dutchman retire from the race.

Hamilton responded to the story coming to light by calling for action.

The PA news agency understands Piquet’s access to the Formula One paddock is likely to be revoked if he does not issue a public apology to Hamilton.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton 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”.

Motor Racing – Formula One – British Grand Prix Practice Day – Brands Hatch, Kent
Nelson Piquet (right) won the last of his three world championships in 1987, driving under Frank Williams (PA)

Formula One and Mercedes were quick to condemn Piquet and offer support to Hamilton.

“Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society,” an F1 statement read. “Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect.

“His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”

Mercedes said in a statement: “We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind.

“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’s team-mate George Russell tweeted: “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.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also posted on Twitter, writing: “Knowing Lewis since I arrived in Formula One, he has always been extremely respectful to me and everyone that he meets. Those values should be the standard towards anybody around the world.

“The comments made towards Lewis should not be tolerated and we should continue to push for a more diverse and inclusive sport. We need to remove discriminatory behaviour and racist language in any form from not just our sport, but our society as well.”

Piquet, whose daughter Kelly is Verstappen’s girlfriend, has been contacted by the PA news agency for comment.

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