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Max Verstappen has rushed to the defence of Nelson Piquet after his N-word slur towards Formula One rival Lewis Hamilton.
Three-time world champion Piquet, 69, has been widely condemned for his comments about Hamilton after last year’s British Grand Prix recently came to light. Hamilton and his fellow drivers have all called for change, while Verstappen, who is dating Piquet’s daughter Kelly, claims the incident has been “blown out of proportion.”
The 2021 champion stated on Thursday that Piquet was “not correct” to use certain phrases when talking about Hamilton on a podcast. But the Dutchman went on to defend Piquet by claiming he is a “nice guy” and “not a racist”.
READ MORE: Nelson Piquet banned from British Grand Prix after racist remarks hurled at Lewis Hamilton
Verstappen said: “I’ve spent a bit of time with Nelson – more than the average person in general – and he’s definitely not a racist. He’s actually a really nice and relaxed guy.
“The wording which was used – even though there are different kinds of cultures and it’s probably something they said when they were younger – was not correct.
“He knows that himself. I don’t think he needs me to tell him what is right and what isn’t. Let it be a lesson for the future not to use that word because it’s very offensive.
“It can be interpreted in two ways and people pick up on the bad side and of course it gets really blown out of proportion. People label him as a racist now which I don’t think he is, but I fully agree of course you cannot use these words.”
Piquet has since gone on to apologise, claiming he was not meant to offend Hamilton and the meaning got lost in translation.
The FIA is now expected to confirm a lifetime paddock ban for the Brazilian after the British Racing Drivers Club, which owns and operates Silverstone, announced they were stripping him of his membership.
Do you think Nelson Piquet should be banned from the F1 paddock? Let us know in the comments section.
Verstappen has been dating Kelly Piquet, who is nine years his senior, since 2015 after meeting the brunette around the paddock. Meanwhile, the 24-year-old has gone on to criticise the possibility of Nelson being banned.
He said: “I think it’s better to open a conversation than to ban people. You are not helping the situation by doing that. It’s not helping what you are trying to enforce … it’s better to chat.
“I don’t think he should be banned from the paddock – especially as he’s a three-time world champion.”
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