Nelson Piquet Calls Lewis Hamilton N-Word in Portuguese, Racing World Responds

·2 min read
Photo credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Photo credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Formula 1, the FIA, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Racing, and Lewis Hamilton have all condemned former F1 champion Nelson Piquet this week for calling Hamilton a racial slur in an interview.

The Brazilian former driver used the term during a podcast recorded last year but released this week. The term used is the Portuguese equivalent of the N-word, The Guardian reports, leading to swift condemnation on multiple fronts.

"It’s more than language," Hamilton wrote in a tweet. "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."

As a seven-time champion and a serious contender for the greatest driver of all time title, Hamilton has long used his platform to nudge the sport toward more inclusive attitudes on race. He pushed for the Mercedes team—long called the Silver Arrows—to paint its cars black in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by police. F1, too, began to take the issue more seriously, using its "We Race As One" campaign to champion equality, even if the sport doesn't always abide by the spirit of that message.

"Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society," F1 wrote in a statement. "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."

Mercedes' official team account and the FIA's account also tweeted statements in support of Lewis. Piquet, meanwhile, has so far been silent on the issue. aΩRoad & Track has reached out to him for a comment and will update if we hear back.

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