Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called for “archaic mindsets to change” after a racist remark about him by Brazilian triple champion Nelson Piquet emerged, triggering widespread condemnation.
Piquet 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 seven-time world champion has faced racial discrimination before. Last season, after the British GP, he was subject to racist abuse online for celebrating his victory. Many F1 teams and drivers have shown their support on Twitter for the Mercedes driver, including his teammate George Russell, Ferrari, Aston Martin and others.
Piquet has a history of making offensive remarks, having previously been disparaging about former F1 team-mates and rivals, including Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna. He has only been an infrequent visitor to Formula 1 events in recent years.
Hamilton has campaigned tirelessly to fight racism and has been outspoken on human rights abuses in countries where F1 goes racing. Hamilton’s Mercedes team -known as the Silver Arrows -switched from silver to an all-black car in 2020 to support Hamilton’s efforts to combat racism.
Hamilton and most drivers also took a knee before races in 2020 and 2021 as an anti-racism gesture.