Retired F1 driver Nelson Piquet called Lewis Hamilton the n-word in Portuguese

by Susan Ryant

Lewis Hamilton is one of the biggest stars in the sport of racing. He is – arguably – the most well-known F1 driver, and one of the richest too. He is also a Black British man living in the world, and working in a mostly white sport. Hamilton has been the victim of a lot of racist bullsh-t throughout his career, but this one hits pretty close to home. A now-retired Brazilian driver named Nelson Piquet gave an interview last year, and the video recently came to light. Piquet used the Portuguese n-word about Hamilton, basically. All hell has broken loose.

Lewis Hamilton has said “the time has come for action” after a video emerged with the three-time world champion Nelson Piquet using racist language when speaking about the British driver. Piquet used the term in an interview that was conducted last year but which was released publicly on Monday night.

Formula One and Hamilton’s Mercedes team had already condemned Piquet on Tuesday morning but Hamilton reacted with anger via Twitter, stating: “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.”

Piquet was speaking in November to Motorsport Talk’s Ricardo Oliveira in Portuguese about Hamilton’s clash with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix in 2021, which ended with the Dutch driver going off the track and suffering a major impact with the barriers.

The video of the interview was picked up by Brazilian media including CNN, which reported his words as he referred to the incident. It included an epithet that can be translated as the N-word.

F1, which has a clear anti-racist platform under the We Race As One banner, swiftly condemned Piquet. It issued a statement that read: “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. His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”

[From The Guardian]

Hamilton’s main sponsor Mercedes quickly condemned Piquet’s remarks. Considering Piquet is retired, what can be done about it? I’ll admit to not really having any familiarity with F1 or how the sport is structured. Does Piquet still have business relations with F1 or F1 sponsors? If so, those should be affected starting right now. What kind of action is Hamilton asking for? A complete ban for Piquet at all F1 events? That should be done as well.

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.

— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 28, 2022

Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade

— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 28, 2022

Photos courtesy of Instar and Avalon Red.

HAMILTON Lewis (gbr), Mercedes AMG F1 Team W13, portrait during the Formula 1 AWS Grand Prix du Canada 2022, 9th round of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, from June 17 to 19, 2022 in Montreal, Canada -,Image: 701144283, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: 00122023, Model Release: no, Credit line: FLORENT GOODEN / Panoramic / Avalon HAMILTON Lewis (gbr), Mercedes AMG F1 Team W13, portrait podium during the Formula 1 AWS Grand Prix du Canada 2022, 9th round of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, from June 17 to 19, 2022 in Montreal, Canada -,Image: 701144334, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: 00122023, Model Release: no, Credit line: FLORENT GOODEN / Panoramic / Avalon HAMILTON Lewis (gbr), Mercedes AMG F1 Team W13, portrait podium during the Formula 1 AWS Grand Prix du Canada 2022, 9th round of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, from June 17 to 19, 2022 in Montreal, Canada -,Image: 701144543, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: 00122023, Model Release: no, Credit line: DPPI / Panoramic / Avalon North America Rights Only – Paris, France -20220306-Valentino Show During Paris Fashion Week – Arrivals-PICTURED: Lewis Hamilton-PHOTO by: Julien Reynaud/ABACA/INSTARimages.comThis is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact Instar Images LLC for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207 This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. Instar Images LLC reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded North America Rights Only – Paris, France -20210707- Salma Hayek, Francois-Henri Pinault, Anna Wintour, Fanny Ardant, Renata Litvinova, Lil Baby, James Harden and Lewis Hamilton arrive for the dinner of the Balanciaga fashion house as part of Paris Fashion Week.-PICTURED: Lewis Hamilton -PHOTO by: Zabulon Laurent/ABACA/INSTARimages.comThis is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact Instar Images LLC for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207 This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. Instar Images LLC reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded