Piquet, who is the father of Verstappen’s girlfriend Kelly, used a racially offensive term when referring to Hamilton during a podcast last November in which he was discussing the Mercedes driver’s controversial crash with Verstappen at Silverstone last year.

The 69-year-old Brazilian, who won the F1 world title in 1981, 1983, and 1987, apologised “wholeheartedly” to Hamilton in a statement but said he “strongly condemned any suggestion the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour”.

Piquet stressed the term he used “is one that’s widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ of ‘person’”, adding “the translation in some media is not correct”.

Speaking to the media ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, Verstappen admitted that Piquet’s choice of wording was incorrect, but insisted he is not racist.

“I think the wording that was used, even with the different kinds of cultures and things they probably said when they were younger, was not correct,” said Verstappen.

“Let it be a lesson for the future not to use that word, because it’s very offensive, especially nowadays it gains more traction.

“I’ve spent a bit of time with Nelson, probably more than the average person in general, and he’s definitely not a racist. He’s actually a nice and pretty relaxed guy.

“Also the statement he released, I think you can see the word in two ways but I think it is still just better not to use it.

“But it’s not only about that word, it’s not about the N-word in general, it’s using offensive language to anyone of any colour, is not correct. And that’s what we have to work on all over the world, not just in F1 with Lewis but to anyone in the world.”

Asked if he had spoken to Piquet about the matter, Verstappen replied: “It’s not up to me to talk to my father-in-law, to call him and say ‘hey man, that’s not correct’ - I think he knows that himself.

“I don’t think he needs me to tell him what’s right and what isn’t. I think he already said in his statement that he realised he used the wrong words. So who am I to then call him? I don’t think it will change anything anyway.

“I think he realised clearly it is not the correct word to use. Then of course, it can be interpreted in two ways. People pick up on the bad side and then of course it gets really blown out of proportion.

“I know Nelson personally - people now label him as a racist, which I don’t think he is. But I fully agree that you cannot use these words.”

‘Better to educate than to ban’

It is understood that Piquet has been banned from the F1 paddock, though it has not been formally announced by F1.

Asked whether he felt the reported punishment was fair, Verstappen said: “I think it’s better to open a conversation than [to] ban him.

“Because when you ban people you are actually not even helping the situation, you are not talking. You have to communicate and communication is really important.

“Because if you just ban it is not helping what you are trying to enforce, right? You are trying to educate people, so it is better to have a chat.

“These things can be very easily solved, because you know when you have a fight with someone and you insult someone but then you have a good chat and apologise or … in these kind of things it is exactly the same.

“Of course, it is not nice the one you have said, but things can be easily forgotten and as long as you learn from the mistake you made and the wording you used, I don’t think you should be banned from the paddock. And especially a three-time world champion.”

Verstappen also spoke about F2 driver Juri Vips, who had his contract terminated by Red Bull following an investigation into a racist comment he made during a live stream on social media.

“The team dealt with that also in a similar manner,” said Verstappen. “He’s not part of Oracle Red Bull Racing as a reserve and test driver, but I do feel people deserve a second chance.

“Probably not a third but things can sometimes be very easily said and not even thought about how badly it can hurt someone or influence someone.

“I know Juri also probably a bit more than the average person and he’s actually a super nice guy. I think he really understood what he did wrong because of course he is in a very difficult moment in his career with everyone judging him.

“Fair enough, what he said was not correct, but I definitely think he deserves a second chance and I read the same about F2 that they wouldn’t have done the same.

"But I think people deserve that second chance to learn from what they did wrong and go out and show that they can be a better person, or at least be more educated about what you are going to say.”