Three-time Components One world champion Nelson Piquet on Wednesday apologised “wholeheartedly” to Lewis Hamilton after utilizing a racially offensive time period to explain the Mercedes star.
Hamilton mentioned the “time has come for motion” following Piquet’s remarks, whereas Components One and motorsport’s governing physique the FIA condemned the 69-year-old Brazilian.
“I apologise wholeheartedly to anybody that was affected, together with Lewis, who’s an unbelievable driver, however the translation in some media that’s now circulating on social media will not be appropriate,” Piquet mentioned in an announcement.
Piquet, who received the world title in 1981, 1983 and 1987, was discussing an accident between Hamilton and Crimson Bull’s Max Verstappen on the primary lap of final yr’s British Grand Prix when he used the time period.
His daughter, Kelly, is Verstappen’s accomplice.
“What I mentioned was unwell thought out, and I make no defence for it, however I’ll make clear that the time period used is one which has broadly and traditionally been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘man’ or ‘individual’ and was by no means supposed to offend,” mentioned Piquet.
“I might by no means use the phrase I’ve been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the phrase was utilized by me with the purpose of belittling a driver due to his pores and skin color.”
Piquet is a supporter of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, and was a chauffeur to him on the nation’s Independence Day final yr.
Hamilton, the one black driver on the grid, has been an outspoken campaigner for higher variety within the sport.
The seven-time world champion recurrently displayed “Black Lives Matter” on his attire and took the knee earlier than races within the 2020 season following the homicide of George Floyd within the US.
Hamilton has additionally campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights and on environmental points.