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Lewis Hamilton on Nelson Piquet Racial Slur: Older F1 Voices Shouldn't Have Platform

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

Paolo Pedicelli ATPImages/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton believes Formula One should embrace a younger generation following the news of former driver Nelson Piquet using a racial slur to describe Hamilton, per ESPN's Nate Saunders.

"I don't know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform," Hamilton said, noting that Piquet's comments were "nothing really particularly new for me."

He continued:

"If we're looking to grow in the U.S. and other countries, South Africa, and grow our audience and look into the future and give younger people a platform that is more representative of today's time and who we are trying to be and the direction we are going. It's not just about one individual, it's not just about one use of that term—it's the bigger picture."

[...]

"These old voices ... whether they're subconscious or consciously ... do not agree people like me should be in a sport like this, do not agree women should be here."

The reaction comes after Piquet, 69, used a Brazilian Portuguese racial slur during a podcast last November. He was criticizing Hamilton after a collision with Max Verstappen, who is dating Piquet's daughter.

Piquet apologized in a statement Wednesday after his comments came to light, but Formula One has banned him from visiting the paddock, per Saunders.

Hamilton is one of the most successful F1 drivers in history, having won seven world championships, but he said he regularly faces discrimination from former competitors.

"I don't think in the last couple of weeks—I don't think a day's gone by where there's not been someone who's not been in our sport or relevant for decades, saying negative things or trying to bring me down, but I'm still here, I'm still standing strong," he said.

The 37-year-old initially responded to the news of Piquet's slur by tweeting on Tuesday, "these archaic mindsets need to change."

Bernie Ecclestone, 91, and Sir Jackie Stewart, 83, have also made headlines lately for comments about or tangential to the star driver, with Stewart notably calling on Hamilton to resign.

Regardless, Hamilton continues to work to improve diversity in the sport through his Hamilton Commission.

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