Former world champion Damon Hill has called on Formula 1 to show “decent human values” and take tough action against Nelson Piquet after he used a racial slur to describe Lewis Hamilton.
Piquet used the pejorative Portuguese phrase “neguinho” when referring to the seven-time world champion in a podcast with Brazilian publication Motorsport Talks in November last year.
The 69-year-old recorded the interview in Portuguese and the footage was uploaded to YouTube in March. It was translated into English after gaining traction on social media on Monday, ahead of the first anniversary of the accident.
Piquet, who won the world title in 1981, 83 and 87, had discussed the collision between Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the first lap of last year’s British Grand Prix.
Hill, speaking in his role with Sky Sports F1 ahead of Sunday’s race at Silverstone, said Piquet’s latest remarks were “out of place” and, while the former Brazilian champion apologized today, Formula 1 and the FIA have yet to make him an example.
‘I don’t think he would [Piquet] welcome if he shows up [in the paddock]” Hill said.
“I always thought Nelson had a bit of an acquired taste, and I haven’t really acquired the taste,” Hill said.
‘It’s beyond the pale now. Even taking into account possible misunderstandings in the difference in languages between the Brazilian term and here, it is certainly something that requires an apology.
“But I don’t know what kind of apology would be enough. It’s very sad, really.
“Poor Lewis to have to put up with this constantly. It ruined his experience as a Formula 1 driver, perhaps more than we will ever understand.
Nelson Piquet, speaking on a Brazilian podcast (pictured) about an incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone last year, has been heavily criticized for a racist remark aimed at the Briton Piquet has since come out to claim the wording had no racial intent
Damon Hill (right) said he “felt sorry” that Hamilton faced such vitriol and now wants to see Formula 1 take a tough stance with action against Piquet following his remarks
‘He smeared Verstappen’: Piquet’s comments on Hamilton
Brazilian Piquet described the incident as a ‘joke’ on the podcast and said Hamilton was ‘lucky’ Verstappen didn’t crash.
He told Motorsport Talks: “The neguinho put the car the wrong way and didn’t let [the other driver swerve].
“The neguinho put the car the wrong way around the corner, it’s because you don’t know the curve.
“It’s a very high curve, there’s no way to overtake two cars and there’s no way to put the car aside.”
‘He did [Verstappen] dirty. His luck was that only the other was gone.
Three-time world champion Piquet, whose daughter Kelly is dating Hamilton rival Verstappen, had suggested Hamilton pushed Verstappen off the track on purpose, ending his race.
He said: “The neguinho put the car the wrong way and didn’t let [the other driver swerve].’
Hamilton then fired back, writing ‘Imagine’ alongside a tweet that read: ‘What if Lewis Hamilton just tweeted, ‘Who the hell is Nelson Piquet?
The 37-year-old added: “It’s more than language. These are archaic mentalities that need to be changed and have no place in our sport. I was surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been a lot of time to learn. Now is the time to act.
He also posted a message in Portuguese – Piquet’s native language – reading, “Let’s focus on changing the mindset”.
Piquet faces banishment from the paddock over the remark – even after his apology – but Hill wants firm and decisive sanctions to be taken to show that the sport “is not just nodding in the direction of the politically correct”.
“Everyone knew the [F1’s] the response was directed against quotes attributed and confirmed by Nelson,’ Hill added on Wednesday. “The FIA’s first statement didn’t refer to it – they answered broadly.”
“We need to make sure the sport doesn’t just nod in the direction of political correctness. It has to be absolutely clear.
“For a long time, I wanted sport to defend and make it clear that it defends certain values.
The former Brazilian racing driver had discussed an incident between Red Bull’s Verstappen and Hamilton, pictured, at the British Grand Prix last year when they collided on the first lap.
The seven-time world champion hit back at Piquet’s racist comments, calling for “action” against “archaic mindsets” and also added a message in Portuguese.
“The argument against it was that they couldn’t be political – the answer was that we are not a political organisation.
“But it’s not politics. Those are decent human values and a sport should definitely be about those things. It should be people who come together to show our best qualities.
It’s not the first time Hamilton has spoken out about racial abuse, having clashed with former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, who last year suggested Formula 1 ‘isn’t racist’ and has claimed Hamilton was being “used” by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Brazilian used the racial slur in question while expressing his opinion that Hamilton had made a mistake by crashing into the Dutch driver and ending his race.
Hamilton has previously clashed with former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone over ‘ignorant’ comments. Ecclestone previously said he would ban F1 drivers from taking a knee before races
Ecclestone, 91, insisted Hamilton ‘misunderstood’ his point of view but was ‘entitled to his opinion’ on the need to increase opportunities in the sport. He added that he believed Hamilton was being ‘used’ by the Black Lives Matter movement
Questioning Senna’s Sexuality and Upsetting Mansell and His Wife: Piquet’s Previous Controversies
Former racing driver Piquet has previously made a series of nasty comments about fellow F1 drivers.
He publicly questioned Ayrton Senna’s sexuality at the time they fought and called his rival “the Sao Paulo taxi driver”.
He also made offensive comments about Nigel Mansell and the Briton’s wife when they were teammates at Williams.
The Brazilian gave an infamous interview to Playboy about his then teammate, calling Mansell an ‘uneducated head’.
Piquet also resorted to derogatory insults towards Mansell’s wife for which he later apologized when legal action was threatened.
The Mercedes driver was given a ten-second penalty for the incident but won the race and reduced his points deficit to Verstappen.
Verstappen was sent crashing into the barriers at the side of the track with 52G force and had to be taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary checks.
The first lap ended abruptly for the 24-year-old Red Bull driver after colliding with his championship rival at Silverstone’s famous Copse corner.
This weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone marks a year since the heated incident, which was part of a series between the two championship rivals as they battled for the world title last year .
Issued a statement to distance himself from any racist intent, Piquet said: “I would never use the word I was accused of in some translations.
“I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me to demean a driver because of their skin color.
“I sincerely apologize to everyone affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver. But the translation in some media now circulating on social media is not correct.
“Discrimination has no place in F1 or in society and I am happy to clarify my thinking in this regard.”
Piquet has a history of offensive remarks, having previously called former British racing driver Nigel Mansell an “uneducated savage” and described his wife Roseanne as “ugly”.
Watch Damon Hill / Karun Chandhok live at Silverstone on Sky Sports F1 this weekend Sunday from 1.30pm.