Nelson Piquet apologises for 'racist' slur when describing Lewis Hamilton - claiming he has been 'mistranslated'

The former Formula One champion insists his words are commonly used in Brazil and refer to "guy" or "person"

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Nelson Piquet has apologised “wholeheartedly” for using an offensive expression during an interview last year when discussing Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton called for action after a clip of Piquet discussing his collision with Max Verstappen from last year resurfaced.

Former Formula One world champion Piquet, 69, was reported to have used a racial slur towards Hamilton following the 2021 British Grand Prix, but insists the word he used had been mistranslated.

Piquet said in a statement: “I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year.

Nelson Piquet
Nelson Piquet

“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.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

“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.”

Piquet has a history of making controversial comments after openly questioning former F1 driver Ayrton Senna's sexuality during his driving days.

While he also previously made other comments towards former teammate Nigel Mansell and his wife.

Mercedes and the F1 quickly condemned the words of Piquet, and Hamilton released a series of tweets.

He wrote: "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."