Nelson Piquet Used Anti-Gay Language Toward F1's Lewis Hamilton in 2021 Interview

Adam WellsJuly 1, 2022

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Amid the recent controversy over his use of a racial slur to describe Lewis Hamilton, reports emerged Friday that Nelson Piquet also used an anti-gay slur when talking about the Formula 1 star on a podcast recorded last year.

Per Sky News, Piquet made the comment to describe how Hamilton lost the 2016 F1 championship to Nico Rosberg.

"The [racist term] must have been [homophobic slur] at the time. He was pretty bad," Piquet said on the podcast, according to Sky News.

Comments Piquet made on a different podcast recorded last year in which he used a racial slur when talking about Hamilton came to light this week.

Per Mauricio Savarese of the Associated Press, Piquet used the term "neguinho," which translates to "little Black guy."

Piquet apologized to Hamilton for the racial slur in a statement issued Wednesday, via ESPN's Nate Saunders:

"I would like to clear the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year

"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 in Brazilian Portuguese for a synonym for 'guy' or 'person' and was never intended to offend. 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. 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. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect."

Saunders noted that Piquet has been banned from visiting F1 paddocks as punishment.

Hamilton responded to Piquet's use of the racial slur on Twitter, calling it "more than language" and saying it's time to get these "archaic mindsets" out of the sport.

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.

According to Sky News, Piquet's honorary membership with the British Racing Drivers' Club has been suspended after his comments came to light.

The British Racing Drivers' Club owns the Silverstone circuit, which is hosting the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

Formula 1 and Mercedes, Hamilton's racing team since 2013, condemned Piquet's use of a racial slur. Charles LeClerc also issued a statement in support of Hamilton.

Piquet, 69, competed in Formula 1 for 13 years from 1978 to 1991.


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