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Nelson Piquet apologizes for calling Lewis Hamilton a racial slur, banned from F1 paddock

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Former Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet has apologized for calling Lewis Hamilton a racial slur on a podcast last year that resurfaced this year. His use of the slur has since caused him to be banned from the F1 paddock indefinitely, according to ESPN.

Piquet called Hamilton the slur while discussing an incident between the seven-time F1 champion and Max Verstappen, who is dating Piquet's daughter Kelly, at the 2021 British Grand Prix. Hamilton and Verstappen had made contact on the first lap, resulting in Verstappen crashing out of the race while his rival went on to win.

While criticizing Hamilton's driving, the Brazilian Piquet used a racially insensitive Portugese term. In his statement of apology, Piquet apologized to Hamilton while insisting the term is widely used in his language as a harmless term for a man.

His apology, via ESPN:

"I would like to clear 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 in Brazilian Portuguese for 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."

Discovery of the podcast on Monday led to a swift condemnation from Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 and a litany of other drivers and figures.

Piquet has a significant history of distasteful comments, most notably an insistence on calling the late Ayrton Senna gay as recently as 2020.

Former F1 Champion Brasil's Nelson Piquet chats at the Red Bull hospitality booth on the eve of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at Red Bull ring at Spielberg, Austria on June 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR        (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Nelson Piquet is no longer welcome at Formula 1 races. (JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)