Max Verstappen backs Lewis Hamilton in racism row involving girlfriend’s dad Nelson Piquet

British Grand Prix: A preview lap of the race track

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Max Verstappen has defended Lewis Hamilton after the seven time champion was on the receiving end of an apparent racist remark from his girlfriend’s father, Nelson Piquet. The Dutchman has claimed it was “not correct to use these words” and claimed all drivers were behind the push for changes.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said:“In general I think all over the world, not only in Formula One, it’s not correct to use these words. That already starts with education, nowadays at a younger age, at home and in school. You need to be taught these kind of things cannot be said or used in general. 

“That’s what we’re working on. F1 together with Lewis, they’re working on that for the future. All the drivers are behind that and supporting that.”

His comments come after his girlfriend, Kelly’s father Nelson Piquet made a remake about Hamilton during an interview with a Brazilian podcast last November. The remark came while discussing Hamilton’s crash with Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix. 

Kelly has also weighed into the debate, reportedly liking a social media post defending her father’s comments.

The post was a message from Nelson’s relative Rodrigo who claimed their “second grandmother” called her family the N-word all the time.  He even claimed the word was one of “love”.

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Piquet has been banned from the F1 paddock after his comments after bosses condemned the remarks. The BRDC has also banned the Brazilian from Silvertsone and has claimed his membership will be terminated in the coming days. 

However, Piquet has since apologised for his comments, claiming there was no malicious intent behind the remarks. 

He said: “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.”

Red Bull are also embroiled in their own race row involving reserve driver Juri Vips. The Estonian has been suspeneded by Red Bull but will continue to compete in Formula Two after receiving the backing of his team.

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