Nelson Piquet uses racially abusive language to refer to Lewis Hamilton on ...
Nelson Piquet has apologised "wholeheartedly" to Lewis Hamilton but says his "ill thought out" comment about the driver was not a racial slur against the seven-time Formula One world champion.
The Brazilian three-time world champion was widely condemned for his remarks about the British racing driver that surfaced from a podcast interview in November last year when discussing the crash the Mercedes driver had with Red Bull rival Max Verstappen at last season's British Grand Prix in Silverstone.
"I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year," the 69-year-old said in a statement, The Independentreported.
"What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend."
He continued: “I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour.
"Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”
“I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct,"
Since Piquet's racist remarks came to light, Hamilton has said in response that "These archaic mindsets need to change," and that the "Time has come for action."
"Let's focus on changing the mindset," he added.
\u201cIt\u2019s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I\u2019ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.\u201d
It's not the first time that Piquet - whose daughter Kelly Piquet is dating Verstappen - has caused offence with his controversial remarks as during his career he publicly questioned the sexuality of racing rival Ayrton Senna and called him "the Sao Paulo taxi driver."
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