F1 drivers turn on three-time champ after racist slur

Lewis Hamilton.

Formula 1 great Lewis Hamilton has said “archaic mindsets” have to change after retired champion Nelson Piquet reportedly used a racial slur against him.

Hamilton’s comments came after F1 and FIA condemned racist language.

“It’s more than language. 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,” Hamilton tweeted on Tuesday.

“There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”

READ MORE: Wimbledon shock as major contender pulls out

READ MORE: Geelong star whacked with big ban for ugly hit

READ MORE: Brutal Blues axing tipped for Origin decider

The only black driver in F1, Hamilton is a seven-time world champion.

He also wrote in Portuguese, “Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade” which translates in French to, “Let’s focus on changing the mindset”.

Piquet, a 69-year-old Brazilian who won three F1 titles, was discussing a crash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen during last year’s British Grand Prix when Piquet used the word “neguinho” — which means “little black guy” — in November on a YouTube podcast named Enerto.

The word is not necessarily a racist slur in Brazil, but it is an expression that has been increasingly seen as distasteful, and its phrasing can also emphasize that.

Piquet’s comment didn’t go viral at the time but suddenly did on Tuesday, although it is unclear why it was so long after the interview.

Piquet is a staunch supporter of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right politician running for re-election. Piquet previously drove Bolsonaro around Brasilia, which went viral.

“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,” F1 said in a statement.

“His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”

Current drivers Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, George Russell and Australian Daniel Ricciardo also took to social media to show their support for Hamilton.

Posting to his Instagram story on Wednesday, Ricciardo took a stand against hate speech, pledging to help end racial prejudice.

“Discrimination and racism has no place in this sport and our society. Those who still choose to spread hate and use those words are no friends of mine,” he wrote.

“I wanted to acknowledge Lewis and all the work he has done both on and off the track to not only spread messages of equality but combat that hate. I’ve never dealt with any racially motivated actions, but he has his entire life. Yet each time his response to the hate is motivated by maturity, positivity and educating the world on how we should act. I stand with him and will do whatever I can to follow and support.”

Hamilton has campaigned tirelessly to fight racism and has been outspoken on human rights abuses in countries where F1 goes racing.

Motorsport governing body FIA also defended Hamilton.

“The FIA ​​strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behaviour, which have no place in sport or wider society,” the FIA ​​said.

“We express our solidarity with @LewisHamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motorsport.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team switched from silver to an all-black car in 2020 to support Hamilton’s efforts to combat racism. Hamilton and most drivers took a knee before races in 2020 and 2021 as an anti-racism gesture. Hamilton also set up The Hamilton Commission to improve F1’s diversity.

“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,” Mercedes said on Twitter.

“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.”

Two years ago, Hamilton criticized “ignorant and uneducated” comments by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Hamilton was shocked by Ecclestone’s claim during an interview with broadcaster CNN that “in lots of cases, black people are more racist” than white people.

Piquet won the world driver championship three times in the 1980s and 23 races. His daughter Kelly Piquet is Verstappen’s girlfriend.

The surfacing of the racist remark comes as Red Bull terminated the contract of test and reserve driver Juri Vips for using a racial slur during an online gaming stream.

The 21-year-old Estonian was suspended by Red Bull last week pending an investigation into the language he used.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

#drivers #turn #threetime #champ #racist #slur

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.