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 British, 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 made known in a statement, “but the translation of some media that is now circulating on social networks is not correct”.
In an interview from November 2021 but which resurfaced on the internet on Tuesday, the three-time world champion (1981, 1983 and 1987) used the word “little black” (“neguiho” in Brazilian) to talk about Hamilton, recalling an accident that involved Briton and Dutchman Max Verstappen in the first lap of the British Grand Prix in 2021.
“The little black guy (Lewis Hamilton) put the car in and left it because he had no way to 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 to the website Motorsports.com.
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 point out 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 the color of his skin.”adds the former pilot.
On Tuesday, Hamilton had reacted: “They are more than words. Those archaic attitudes need to change and have no place in our sport.”.
Piquet’s statements 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 far-right Brazilian head of state Jair Bolsonaro.
With information from AFP.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.