Piquet sorry for offending Hamilton, clarifies 'poorly thought out' comment

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Nelson Piquet has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for a "poorly thought out" comment after it was claimed he used a racial slur.

This week, a video interview from last November resurfaced on social media in which the three-time Formula 1 champion was critical of Hamilton's role in the collision with Max Verstappen at the 2021 British Grand Prix.

During that interview, Piquet twice used the word 'neguinho', which many have translated to mean the n-word.

However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, the Brazilian insisted that was not the context he was using the word in.

“I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made during an interview last year,” he said.

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“What I said was poorly thought out, and I do not defend myself against it, but I want to clarify that the term used is a term that has been widely and historically used colloquially in the Portuguese language in Brazil as a colloquial synonym of ‘guy’ or ‘nobody’, and that it was never intended to offend.

“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations," Piquet added. "I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour.

“I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct.

“Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”

Hamilton, who was recently made an honorary citizen of Brazil, responded to Piquet's comments writing “Let’s focus on changing the mindset” in Brazilian Portuguese on Twitter.

Later, in English, he added: “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. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”

F1, Mercedes plus other teams and drivers issued statements in support of Hamilton, with speculation Piquet could now be banned from the paddock as a result of his comments.