Nelson Piquet apologises to Hamilton but disputes translation of offensive word

Nelson Piquet has apologised “wholeheartedly” to Lewis Hamilton but has disputed that the word he used was racist, and claimed it was translated incorrectly.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)

Footage emerged this week, ahead of the F1 British Grand Prix, of the ex-F1 world champion from Brazil calling Hamilton a word that mainstream Brazilian media confirmed was racist.

Piquet’s daughter Kelly, who is Max Verstappen’s girlfriend, has since supported the view that he did not intend to be racist by liking a post on social media.

 - Nelson Piquet
- Nelson Piquet

Remote video URL

Piquet issued a statement on Wednesday: “I would like to clear up 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 colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as 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.”

Kelly Piquet likes post defending dad

Kelly Piquet
Kelly Piquet

Max Verstappen’s girlfriend Kelly Piquet has seemingly defended her dad Nelson, liking an Instagram post from a relative supporting him.

Rodrigo Piquet, a relative of Nelson, has defended the triple world champion on social media, writing on Instagram: “Inacinha, our second grandmother and the mother of my father and the soul and heart of my uncle. 

“She called all of us that [neguinho]. It’s not like that, but it’s about love.

“Hypocritical world.” 

Rodrigo’s account was made private shortly after sharing his post, which was liked by Nelson’s daughter Kelly.

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