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F1: Lewis Hamilton calls for action amid storm of racist Piquet comments


Lewis Hamilton Grand Prix Qatar

FILE– Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed / Pool

SAO PAULO — Lewis Hamilton calls for action to change “classical thinking” after racist remarks about him by Brazilian triple champion Nelson Piquet surfaced on social media, sparking an uproar. widespread judgment.

During a Brazilian YouTube interview in November, Piquet, 69, used a racial slur when referring to the seven-time world champion, while commenting on Hamilton’s British Grand Prix crash with Max Verstappen.

He also said Hamilton had “played dirty” in the incident. Piquet’s daughter Kelly is Verstappen’s partner, and the comments resurfaced as drivers prepare to return to Silverstone this weekend.

Hamilton, who was recently awarded honorary Brazilian citizenship and is the sport’s only black driver, responded on Twitter.

“It’s not just language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport,” said the Mercedes driver.

“I have been surrounded by these attitudes and targets my whole life. There is plenty of time to learn. It’s time to act.”

Motor racing governing body FIA, Formula One and Mercedes all released a statement condemn racism but did not mention Piquet’s name.

“Stigmatizing or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect,” said Formula One.

Mercedes said Hamilton was “a true champion of diversity on and off the track”, while the FIA ​​expressed solidarity and support for its “commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in model sport.” bowl” of the British.

Piquet’s press team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Former Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc called Hamilton a hero and said the driver helped in the fight against deforestation to build a detour in Rio de Janeiro.

Piquet, who won his titles in 1981, 1983 and 1987, is a staunch supporter of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and drove the president’s Rolls-Royce at a ceremony last year.

Hamilton has been recognized as an honorary citizen of Brazil after the lower house this month passed a bill proposed by MP Andre Figueedlyo.

The Briton, whose boyhood hero was the late Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna, planted the Brazilian flag after he won last year’s race at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit.

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