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‘Time has come for action’: Teams rally around Hamilton after Piquet levels racist slur against F1 driver

By Amy Woodyatt, Duarte Mendonca and Sammy Mngqosini, CNN

Formula One, Mercedes and the FIA have condemned former F1 driver Nelson Piquet for using a racial slur against British driver Lewis Hamilton.

Piquet used a Brazilian Portuguese racial slur to describe seven-time champion Hamilton when addressing a high-speed collision involving Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the Silverstone Grand Prix last year.

Verstappen is dating Piquet’s daughter, Kelly.

The racist term was used by the three-time F1 world champion in November of last year, but only came to light recently, when the interview was released Monday.

Hamilton “put the car in and left it there because there was no way for two cars to pass on that corner. He made a dirty move. Lucky for him, only the other one driver [Verstappen] got f**ked,” Piquet said in a Portuguese-language interview with the Motorsports Talk channel.

On Tuesday, Hamilton responded to Piquet’s comments in a series of posts on Twitter, writing “Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade” — Portuguese for “Let’s focus on changing the mindset.”

Hamilton, who has the most race wins in F1 history, said the “time has come for action” on racism.

“It’s more than language. These are archaic mindsets [that] need to change and have no place in our sport,” Hamilton said on Twitter. “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.”

Piquet’s comments have been widely condemned in the sport.

“Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society,” F1 said in a statement on Twitter. “Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect.

“His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team also condemned the comments.

“We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind. Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track,” Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team said in a statement.

“Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underlines the fundamental importance of continuing to strive for a brighter future.”

Meanwhile, motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, outlined its support to Hamilton’s “commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motor sport.”

“The FIA strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behaviour, which have no place in sport or wider society,” it added.

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