Nelson Piquet has faced backlash over his comments on Lewis Hamilton where he used a racially aggravated term when discussing the Mercedes driver in a podcast. Piquet is a former three-time World Champion after winning in 1981, 1983 and 1987.
Footage of Piquet's comments from last November have emerged ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix. In last year's Grand Prix at Silverstone, Verstappen and Hamilton collided wheel to wheel, resulting in Red Bull's Verstappen crashing out of the race during the very first lap.
Verstappen and Hamilton collide!
The title rivals come together at Copse, pitching Verstappen into a high-speed crash.
The Dutchman was able to walk away but he has been taken to hospital for precautionary checks#BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1 pic.twitter.com/ol1s9dRJoa
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2021
Lewis Hamilton received a penalty for his role in the collision. Verstappen ended up being crowned champion after a controversial final lap in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
F1 themselves have responded to the footage of Nelson Piquet. In a statement, they said:
"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."
Mercedes have also been quick to condemn Piquet and show their support to Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes said in their 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."
Piquet who is the father of Max Verstappen's partner Kelly, said that Hamilton had been "lucky" that Verstappen only crashed and described the incident as a "joke". He then went on to use a swear word in describing Hamilton's mistake.
Figures from the F1 world react to Nelson Piquet
The clip is apparently from an interview in November. Why it’s only coming to light now I have no idea, nor why it seemingly wasn’t picked up at the time or acted upon.
— Will Buxton (@wbuxtonofficial) June 28, 2022
I worked with Lewis Hamilton very closely for 5 years when he & I were at McLaren. He’s an absolutely brilliant #F1 driver & a truly great man. He does a huge amount for diversity & inclusivity. By contrast Nelson Piquet Sr disgusts me. #WeRaceAsOne. That’s it. That’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/SZOnbp0Y2J
— Matt Bishop 🏳️🌈 (@TheBishF1) June 28, 2022
It's not the first time that Nelson Piquet has been involved in controversy. Back in his driving days, he publically questioned Ayrton Senna's sexuality and called him the "Sao Paulo taxi driver".
He also made offensive comments about Nigel Mansell and his wife during his time at Williams.
Lewis Hamilton has responded to Piquet's comments and tweeted this earlier today.
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