Lewis Hamilton has condemned three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet for using a racially abusive term about him in an interview.
The 69-year-old Brazilian used the derogatory term in a podcast in Portuguese following last year’s British Grand Prix, when title rivals Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided on the first lap at Silverstone. The podcast came to light this week.
Piquet, who is the father of Verstappen’s girlfriend, Kelly, used a racist term about Hamilton while accusing him of mishandling his car into the first corner. Piquet added Hamilton was “lucky” to continue in the race.
The seven-time world champion said on Twitter on Tuesday: “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.”
He also tweeted in Portuguese: “Let’s focus on changing the mindset.”
On Tuesday, F1 also condemned the term used by Piquet in 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.”
Additionally, Hamilton’s team, Mercedes, issued a statement: “We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind. 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.”
Formula One returns to Silverstone this weekend.