Nelson Piquet defends himself after rejection for controversial comment referring to Lewis Hamilton

Nelson Piquet defends himself after rejection for controversial comment referring to Lewis Hamilton

The Brazilian spoke in a statement and expressed his apologies, after he called the Briton a “black” in an interview he gave last year

Nelson Piquet defends himself after being repudiated for a controversial comment referring to Lewis Hamilton

Nelson Piquet spoke out in the midst of the controversy over a term to refer to Lewis Hamilton. (Photo: AFP)

Nelson Piquet made news on Tuesday for something that he is surely not proud of. The Brazilian ex-pilot described Lewis Hamilton as “little black” (“neguinho” in Brazil) in a past interview and this generated great controversy. After the unfortunate episode, the accused of racism apologized “wholeheartedly” to the Briton, a seven-time F1 champion.

“I sincerely apologize to everyone who has been affected, including Hamilton, who is an incredible driver”, the 69-year-old Brazilian said in a statement, “but the translation of some media that is now circulating on social networks is not correct”.

In an interview in November of 2021 but that resurfaced on the internet on Tuesday, the three-time world champion (1981, 1983 and 1987) used the word “little black” (“neguinho” in Brazilian) to talk about Hamilton, recalling an accident involving the British and the Dutchman Max Verstappen on the first lap of the British Grand Prix in 2021.

“The black guy (Lewis Hamilton) put the car in and left it because he couldn't pass two cars in that corner. He played dirty. His luck was that only the other (Verstappen) got screwed ”, Piquet declared in the video interview with the Motorsports.com website.

On Wednesday Piquet wanted “clarify the stories circulating in the media”.

“What I said was wrong and I will not defend myself but I want to specify that the term used is a term that has been long and historically used in the Brazilian Portuguese language as 'type' or 'person' and that has never been intended to offend”, he assures.

“I would never use the word that some translations have accused me of. I strongly condemn any suggestion that I would have used that word with the aim of demeaning a pilot because of their skin color”, adds the former pilot.

On Tuesday, Hamilton had reacted: “It's more than words. Those archaic attitudes must change and have no place in our sport.”.

Piquet's remarks were condemned in the world of F1, by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), by Formula 1, organizer of the World Championship, and by teams and other drivers.

Piquet, father of Verstappen's sentimental partner, is part of the support of the extreme right-wing Brazilian head of state Jair Bolsonaro.

With information from AFP.