Nelson Piquet has apologised “wholeheartedly” to Lewis Hamilton – but “strongly condemns any suggestion” the expression he used when referring to the F1 ace during an interview was racially offensive.
The 69-year-old former world champion – who is the father of Max Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet – reportedly used a racial slur in Portuguese when discussing a collision between Hamilton and Verstappen during the 2021 British GP on a Brazilian podcast last November.
But he insisted the word he used had been mistranslated.
Piquet said in a statement: “I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.
“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. 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.”