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Lewis Hamilton, F1 Condemn Nelson Piquet's Racist Language Toward Mercedes Driver

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 28, 2022

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton spoke out Tuesday against racially abusive language used about him by three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet.

Archie Griggs of the Daily Express reported Tuesday that Piquet used a racist term directed toward Hamilton in November as he spoke with a Brazilian outlet about an on-track collision between the Mercedes driver and Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

Hamilton responded on Twitter after video of the interview began to spread:

Lewis Hamilton @LewisHamilton

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.

Mercedes and F1 also released statements, per Griggs.

"We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind," Mercedes said. "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."

F1 added: "Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society."

Piquet is the father of Verstappen's girlfriend, Kelly Piquet, per ESPN.

His comments were in reference to a collision during the 2021 British Grand Prix last July. They surfaced as F1 returns to the U.K.'s Silverstone Circuit this weekend.

Piquet argued Hamilton was at fault for a first-lap crash with Verstappen, who was forced out of the race after starting on pole. Hamilton, who was given a 10-second penalty, still went on to win the event.

"The penalty given does not help us in any way and doesn't do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track," Verstappen told reporters at the time. "Watching the celebrations after the race while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move on."

Verstappen still managed to win his first championship, edging Hamilton by eight points in the final standings (395.5-387.5). No other driver had more than 226.

Meanwhile, Hamilton said last year he's been working behind the scenes to bring an end to racial inequality within Formula One.

"I'm having conversations, trying to hold people in the sport more accountable," the seven-time F1 champion said in April 2021. "I'm constantly sending emails. I'm constantly on Zoom calls with Formula One and challenging them like they wouldn't want to be challenged."

He proceeded to applaud F1's effort to combat online racism after comments directed toward him following the run-in with Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.

"I felt for the first time that I didn't stand alone in the sport. Because for the other years, or the other 27 or whatever years I've been racing, no one would ever say anything,," Hamilton said last July.

Hamilton and Verstappen are once again among the favorites as F1 returns to Silverstone on Sunday. Hamilton has yet to win a race this season, but he is trending in the right direction after securing his first podium of the year June 19 at the Canadian Grand Prix.

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