Damon Hill calls on F1 to take FIRM action against Nelson Piquet

Damon Hill calls on F1 to take FIRM action against Nelson Piquet

Damon Hill calls on Formula One to stop merely ‘nodding in the direction of political correctness’ and take FIRM action against Nelson Piquet, after the Brazilian’s ‘beyond the pale’ remark calling Lewis Hamilton the N-word

  • Damon Hill has insisted that there is no place for Nelson Piquet in F1’s paddock 
  • Former F1 driver and world champion Nelson Piquet has been condemned by Formula One for using a racial slur 
  • He had used Brazilian slang for the N-Word in a podcast while discussing Lewis Hamilton’s crash last November 
  • Piquet was discussing the collision between Hamilton and rival Max Verstappen 
  • 1996 world champion Hill believes his latest remarks go well ‘beyond the pale’ 

Former world champion Damon Hill has called on Formula One to show ‘decent human values’ and take firm action against Nelson Piquet after he used a racial slur to describe Lewis Hamilton.

Piquet used the derogatory Portuguese phrase ‘neguinho’ while referring to the seven-time world champion on a podcast with the Brazilian publication Motorsport Talks in November last year. 

The 69-year-old recorded the interview in Portuguese and the footage was uploaded onto YouTube in March. It was translated into English after gaining traction on social media on Monday, ahead of the first anniversary of the crash. 

Piquet, who won the world title in 1981, 83 and 87, had been discussing the collision between Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the first lap of last year’s British Grand Prix. 

Hill, speaking in his role with Sky Sports F1 ahead of Sunday’s race at Silverstone, said that Piquet’s latest remarks are ‘beyond the pale’ and, while the Brazilian former champion apologised today, Formula One and the FIA must still make an example of him.  

‘I don’t think he’d [Piquet] be very welcome if he did turn up [in the paddock],’ Hill said. 

‘I’ve always felt Nelson was a bit of an acquired taste, and I didn’t really acquire the taste,’ said Hill.

‘This is beyond the pale now. Even allowing for possible misunderstandings in the difference in languages between the Brazilian term and here, certainly it’s something that demands an apology.

‘But I’m not sure what sort of apology would be sufficient. It’s very sad, really.

‘Poor Lewis for having to put up with this constantly. It’s blighted his experience of being a Formula 1 driver, perhaps more than we’ll ever understand.’

Nelson Piquet, speaking on a Brazilian podcast (pictured) about an incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone last year, has been heavily criticised for a racist remark aimed at the Briton. Piquet has since come out to claim the wording had no racial intent


Damon Hill (right) said he ‘feels sorry’ Hamilton is faced with such vitriol and now wants to see Formula One take a firm stance with action against Piquet as a result of his remarks

Brazilian Piquet described the incident as a ‘joke’ on the podcast, and said Hamilton had been ‘lucky’ that Verstappen only crashed.

He told Motorsport Talks: ‘The neguinho put the car in the wrong way and didn’t let [the other driver swerve].

‘The neguinho put the car in the wrong way on the corner, it’s because you don’t know the curve. 

‘It’s a very high curve, there is no way to pass two cars and there’s no way you can put the car aside. 

‘He did [Verstappen] dirty. His luck was that only the other one was gone.’

Three-time world champion Piquet, whose daughter Kelly is dating Hamilton’s rival Verstappen, had suggested Hamilton pushed Verstappen off the track on purpose, ending his race. 

He said: ‘The neguinho put the car in the wrong way and didn’t let [the other driver swerve].’

Hamilton then hit back, writing ‘Imagine’ next to a tweet which said, ‘what if Lewis Hamilton just tweeted, ‘Who the f*** is Nelson Piquet?’

The 37-year-old added: ‘It’s more than language. These are archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.’

He also posted a message in Portuguese – Piquet’s native language – reading, ‘let’s focus on changing the mindset.’

Piquet is facing the prospect of being banned from the paddock following the remark – even following his apology – but Hill wants firm and decisive sanctions taken to show that the sport is ‘not just nodding in the direction of political correctness.’

‘Everyone knew the [F1’s] response was directed at quotes attributed and confirmed by Nelson,’ Hill added on Wednesday. ‘The first statement from the FIA didn’t actually reference that – it responded in a broad way.

‘We have to make sure the sport is not just nodding in the direction of political correctness. It has to be absolutely clear. 

‘For a long time I’ve wished that the sport upheld and made it abundantly clear it upholds certain values. 

The Brazilian ex-racing driver had been discussing an incident between Red Bull’s Verstappen and Hamilton, pictured, at the British Grand Prix last year when they collided on lap one

The seven-time world champion hit back at Piquet’s racist comments, calling for ‘action’ against the ‘archaic mindsets’ and also added a message in Portuguese

‘The argument against that was that they couldn’t be political – the response was we’re not a political organisation.

‘But this is not politics. This is decent human values and surely a sport should be about those things. It should be about people coming together to show our best qualities.’ 

It is not the first time Hamilton has spoken out about racial abuse, having previously clashed with ex-F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone who last year suggested Formula One ‘was not racist’ and claimed Hamilton was ‘being used’ by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Brazilian used the racial slur in question while expressing his opinion that Hamilton had made a mistake by crashing into the Dutch driver, and ending his race. 

Hamilton has previously clashed with ex-F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone over ‘ignorant’ comments. Ecclestone previously said he would ban F1 drivers taking a knee before races

Ecclestone, 91, insisted Hamilton ‘misunderstood’ his view but he is ‘entitled to his opinion’ on the need for increased opportunities in the sport. He added that he believes Hamilton is ‘being used’ by the Black Lives Matter movement

Questioning Senna’s sexuality and upsetting Mansell and his wife: Piquet’s previous controversies

Ex-racing driver Piquet has previously made a series of unpleasant comments about his fellow F1 drivers.

He publicly questioned Ayrton Senna’s sexuality in the time that they battled each other and called his rival ‘the Sao Paulo taxi driver’.

He also made offensive comments about Nigel Mansell and the Briton’s wife when they were team-mates at Williams.

The Brazilian gave an infamous interview with Playboy about his then teammate, calling Mansell an ‘uneducated blockhead’.

Piquet also resorted to derogatory insults about Mansell’s wife which he later apologised for when legal action was threatened.

The Mercedes driver was handed a ten-second penalty for the incident, but went on to win the race and cut his points deficit to Verstappen.

Verstappen was sent crashing into the barriers at the side of the track at a force of 52G and needed to be taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary checks.

The opening lap ended abruptly for the Red Bull driver, 24, after colliding with his championship rival at Silverstone’s notorious Copse corner. 

This weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone marks a year since the heated incident, which was one in a series between the two championship rivals as they fought for last year’s world title.

Issuing a statement to distance himself from any racist intent, Piquet said: ‘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.’

Piquet has a history of offensive remarks having previously called former British racing driver Nigel Mansell an ‘uneducated blockhead’ and described his wife Roseanne as ‘ugly.’ 

Watch every race of the 2022 F1 season exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 and NOW TV 


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