Retired F1 driver Nelson Piquet called Lewis Hamilton the n-word in Portuguese

Lewis Hamilton is one of the biggest stars in the sport of racing. He is – arguably – the most well-known F1 driver, and one of the richest too. He is also a Black British man living in the world, and working in a mostly white sport. Hamilton has been the victim of a lot of racist bullsh-t throughout his career, but this one hits pretty close to home. A now-retired Brazilian driver named Nelson Piquet gave an interview last year, and the video recently came to light. Piquet used the Portuguese n-word about Hamilton, basically. All hell has broken loose.

Lewis Hamilton has said “the time has come for action” after a video emerged with the three-time world champion Nelson Piquet using racist language when speaking about the British driver. Piquet used the term in an interview that was conducted last year but which was released publicly on Monday night.

Formula One and Hamilton’s Mercedes team had already condemned Piquet on Tuesday morning but Hamilton reacted with anger via Twitter, stating: “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.”

Piquet was speaking in November to Motorsport Talk’s Ricardo Oliveira in Portuguese about Hamilton’s clash with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix in 2021, which ended with the Dutch driver going off the track and suffering a major impact with the barriers.

The video of the interview was picked up by Brazilian media including CNN, which reported his words as he referred to the incident. It included an epithet that can be translated as the N-word.

F1, which has a clear anti-racist platform under the We Race As One banner, swiftly condemned Piquet. It issued a statement that read: “Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect. His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”

[From The Guardian]

Hamilton’s main sponsor Mercedes quickly condemned Piquet’s remarks. Considering Piquet is retired, what can be done about it? I’ll admit to not really having any familiarity with F1 or how the sport is structured. Does Piquet still have business relations with F1 or F1 sponsors? If so, those should be affected starting right now. What kind of action is Hamilton asking for? A complete ban for Piquet at all F1 events? That should be done as well.

Photos courtesy of Instar and Avalon Red.

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35 Responses to “Retired F1 driver Nelson Piquet called Lewis Hamilton the n-word in Portuguese”

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  1. Jais says:

    F1 released a statement about this but never named Nelson Piquet or stated exactly what he said. Cowards.

    • Paula says:

      Well the F1 has always overlooked human rights violations in the Middle East, so I wouldn’t expect anything from them.

      • SarahCS says:

        There are a lot of things I admire about Hamilton and a big part of that is how he stands up for people. Be that in what he says publicly (and how vocal he is about using his position and his voice) down to things like wearing a rainbow helmet when he races in countries with laws that attack LGBTQ+ groups. He DNGAF about consequences and I love it.

  2. Sam says:

    I don’t know much about the F1 but … Nelson Piquet’s daughter Kelly is Max Verstappen’s girlfriend.

    • Renee' says:

      Oh I definitely follow F1 but had no idea Verstappen’s girlfriend is Piquet’s daughter. Wow! If Verstappen doesn’t denounce this publicly, we know where he stands.

      • Wilma says:

        Verstappen was one of the few drivers not kneeling when Hamilton took the initiative to kneel pre-game. And Dutch Verstappen fans are very anti-Hamilton to the point where one knows what that’s really about, at least the ones I’ve encountered.

      • Ronan says:

        Seeing as max verstappen is banned from Mongolia for using derogatory language, I wouldn’t hold me breath

    • jj says:

      Yeah, Verstappen is a garbage person, and a nepotism driver whose father was also in F1. piquet’s son is also garbage, and also attempted to have a nepotism F1 career as a contemporary of Hamilton, but he wasn’t very good. lost his ride pretty fast. they are clearly “old guard” who are resentful of the fact that this amazing man who happens to be black can drive circles around them

  3. Nicegirl says:

    I’m so upset about this

  4. girl_ninja says:

    Lewis is absolutely right. The time for action is NOW.

  5. Nicole says:

    Piquet is a racist POS who loves Bolsonaro. He needs to be banned from the paddock if F1/the FIA are at all serious about dealing with racism. Sir Lewis is the ONLY Black driver in 72 years of F1. It’s ridiculous. Just last week Red Bull suspended a junior driver for using the n-word in a twitch stream.

    • SarahCS says:

      The story I saw had some other examples of things he’s said publicly and wow he’s a terrible guy.

  6. Sunday says:

    I honestly don’t know how Lewis Hamilton does it. The racism he faces is staggering and relentless. It’s absolutely shameful. Everything between Verstappen and Hamilton was/is so gross; the dog whistles, the preferential treatment, all of it. F1 is complicit in all of this regardless of whatever perfunctory statement they put out.

    • Renee' says:

      You said it Sunday! I can’t stand the favortism Verstappen gets. Lewis has been the champion for years but he still has to prove himself for some reason. It’s ridiculous! Go #44!

      • Bazy says:

        I agree with Hamilton’s call for action now and I hope verstappen says something re this piquet video too, but the idea that verstappen gets favoritism in F1? Definitely not. Verstappen has been grumbled about and pushed down by the (heavily British favoring) F1 press and other drivers since he started in F1. “Dangerous driving,” “know your place” , “respect your elders” etc etc. He has definitely not been anyone’s favorite except his own fans. There’s a reason he has chosen to skip on Drive to Survive, he has consistently been painted as the villain.

        Re Piquet’s daughter and verstappen, she has a long history of being on the track and Nelson Piquet was/is a really famous driver. Not saying to excuse Piquet, just saying everyone in F1 knows the Piquets. Don’t lay this on Verstappen.

      • Brandy Alexander says:

        And F1 literally changed the rules in the last race last year just to give Verstappen the championship, and then said – oops, our bad, that was the wrong call after the race when nothing could be done about it. I’ve always been a huge Hamilton fan to his days back at MacLaren and the way he has been treated is not right.

      • jj says:

        @Bazy – “There’s a reason he has chosen to skip on Drive to Survive, he has consistently been painted as the villain.” honesty though, he IS a villain. I’ve been watching F1 for close to 20 years now. he’s whiny, petulant, and entitled, and has been from the moment he entered the sport as the “youngest driver EVAR”. and he only got that ride in the first place because of his father. yes, he has talent. but even someone with talent doesn’t get an F1 ride at 16 without their father’s name to given them clout, given how few slots there are. He also routinely screws over his own teammates, with red bull’s full support.

  7. Jane says:

    I’ve watched F1 since I was a kid and agree with the comments I’ve seen above: 1) NP should be condemned by name, 2) NP should be condemned by other drivers, 3) NP should be barred from the paddock. Same for Max’s father, Jos, credibly accused by Max of multiple counts of horrific child abuse.

    • Sam says:

      Jos Verstappen, Max’s father and former F1 driver himself, has been charged with assaulting his wife — Max’s mum — when his son was 11. He even was arrested for attempted murder …

  8. Janine says:

    May I take a moment to be the shallow one and point out that he is also hot AF.

  9. LolaB says:

    The majority of Brazilians have African ancestry. You might want to remember who cheers for you, Nelson.

    • Kath says:

      As a Brazilian, I must say nobody likes Piquet, black or white, everybody agrees he’s an a**hole

  10. Moi says:

    I don’t take Dutch verstapprn fans seriously because they have a chip on their shoulder for no reason.

    • Fabiola says:

      I’m confused about the translation of the N word in another language. I thought that word only existed in America. I’ve never heard it used in my native country in South America. That word does not have exist.

  11. Bonsai Mountain says:

    Lewis is such a champ on and off the court, that’s what really grinds these people’s gears, that a black man is better than them in every way,

    • Thalia says:

      It’s hideous. Let’s not forget that red bull racing have had to suspend (temporarily) one of their junior racers this week for using racist language on a twitch stream. Piquet is intrinsically linked with red bull…. So that’s apparently what that team is building… hmm

      And the awful abuse that professional racing driver Naomi Schiff got after fronting the f1 coverage. A black woman knowing about sport. It’s insane the abuse she got, but Lewis stood up for her too. Using his platform for good.

      It’s time this ended but as Lewis says it’s time for action.

      Ps he’s hit the Sunday times charitable list (in the uk) donating 7% of his salary to charity.

  12. Mothra says:

    As a Brazilian I state that Nelson Piquet is scum, just like anyone who supports our joke of president.

  13. FlachamBoden says:

    This is so disgusting! Max Verstappen defintley should say something!

  14. DocDocGreyDoc says:

    Piquet doubled down with an IG post throwing his grandmother under the bus, too lol. The tired and lame ‘my grandmother called us n***as and it was a term of endearment! See! Im not racist!’ (He literally used “n***as” not censored in his dumbass post.)

    And his daughter ‘liked’ it, as well. Trash apple doesn’t fall far from the trash tree.

  15. Mel says:

    As a Brazilian I would like to add a few things.

    1. Piquet is not well liked. Ayrton Senna was the one who Brazilians really loves and cheer.

    2. Piquet is a Bolsonaro fan. Do I need to say more about his character?

    3. Piquet’s daughter dated and has a daughter with another F1 driver and is now dating Max

    4. Hamilton is very loved in Brazil and has a huge following here. Definitely Brazilians favorite pilot.

    5. Brazil is very racist and I can imagine Piquet is also but the n word do not have the same connotation as in the US.

  16. Sour Pasoa says:

    Doesn’t matter what connotation the word has where you live: DO NOT USE IT, EVER. PERIOD!!!

    Never liked Max, and the hype surrounding him anyway. I had a feeling he has ‘people like Nelson’, in his inner circle. The blm remark a few years back was so strange, imo.

    My gut feeling was right.

    I wonder how max is gonna ignore this one…🤔