Lewis Hamilton: Nelson Piquet condemned for racist slur about Mercedes F1 driver

Formula 1 and Mercedes have condemned racist language used by three-time world champion Nelson Piquet to describe Lewis Hamilton.

The interview, which took place in Portuguese back in November, discusses Hamilton’s win at last year’s British Grand Prix, when the seven-time champion collided with then Championship leader Max Verstappen on the opening lap.

The Belgian-Dutch driver spun out and crashed into the barrier, causing uproar at Red Bull as Hamilton sprung back into the Championship race.

Yet Piquet, 69, believed Hamilton crashed into Verstappen on purpose and twice used racial language when describing the Mercedes star.

Formula 1 condemned the comments while also pointing to Hamilton’s efforts to champion diversity within the sport and outside of it.

“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,” they said in a statement.

“[Hamilton’s] tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”

It is understood that Piquet’s access to the paddock at F1 races could be revoked if he doesn’t issue a public apology to Hamilton, as reported by PA.

Hamilton’s team, constructors champions Mercedes, also released a statement, criticising the language and labelling Hamilton a “true champion of diversity on and off track.”

It read: “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.”

Hamilton himself later called for “action” in the wake of the comments.

“It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport,” he wrote on social media.

“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.”

The British Grand Prix takes place this weekend, with Verstappen in a commanding position at the top of the Championship leaderboard.

Verstappen is 46 points clear of closest challenger Sergio Perez – while Hamilton is sixth in the standings, a mammoth 98 points off the top after just nine races.