SAO PAULO ( Associated Press) – Former Formula One champion Nelson Piquet apologized to Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday, saying the racist word he used about the Mercedes driver was a “bad thought” but not meant to be offensive.
The 69-year-old Brazilian faced heavy criticism this week over comments he made on a podcast in Portuguese where he referred to Hamilton as “Neguinho”, which means “little black man.”
“What I said was misunderstood, and I make no defense for it, but I will clarify that the word that has been used is widely and historically in Brazilian Portuguese to mean ‘boy’ or ‘person’. used colloquially as a synonym and was never intended to offend,” Piquet, who won three F1 titles in the 1980s, said in the statement. But I have been accused. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the term was used by me on purpose to belittle because of the color of the driver’s skin. ,
Piquet used the term three times during interviews as he discussed a crash between Hamilton – the seven-time F1 champion and the only black driver in the sport – and Max Verstappen during last year’s British Grand Prix. His daughter Kelly Pickett is Verstappen’s girlfriend.
“I sincerely apologize to anyone affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver,” Piquet said. “But the translation which is now circulating on social media in some media is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to make my views clear in this regard.”
After Piquet’s comments surfaced again this week, Hamilton called for a “archaic mindset” to change, while both F1 and the governing body FIA condemned the use of racist language.
“It’s so much more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our game. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targets my whole life,” Hamilton tweeted on Tuesday. “It’s been too long to learn. It’s time to take action.”
The British GP is this weekend.1