Maybe it’s the British Grand Prix coming up this weekend that prompted folks to re-visit last year’s race and watch some of the media and content as a refresher in preparation for this week’s event. Regardless of why a year-old interview went viral today is really beside the point.
A year-old interview with 3-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet was rebuffed by Lewis Hamilton on social media today due to its use of derogatory and racist language. I’ve read many translations and the debate online about the Brazilian language, slang and usage of words rages on but despite that, Lewis offered his thoughts and was promptly followed by F1, the FIA and several teams denouncing the situation.
“It’s more than language. These 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.”
Lewis’s teammate, George Russell, said that Lewis has done more in and out of the car than any other driver while Mercedes issued a firm stance on the incident.
While the debate and arguments rage on within the social media world, I’ve read many posts, tweets and comments on both sides of the argument. The debate ranges from accusations of using the N-word to cultural colloquialisms.
I’ve read multiple translations but regardless of parlance, is not the simplest question this? When describing the incident at last year’s British Grand Prix between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, why wouldn’t Nelson simply say “Lewis” instead of the word/description he chose?
Lewis is a 7-time champion and a household name in F1 circles. Nelson knows Lewis’s name and surely when describing who did what, it was Lewis and Max coming together during the race.
F1 was quick to comment on the situation in support of Lewis as was the FIA as they should. I recall the folks showing up in Spain for pre-season testing wearing black face and at the time, the FIA president Max Mosley was very quick to act, as he should have. He even threatened to stop racing in Spain if this behavior continued.
Lewis is calling for a change in mindset and action. The good news is that Nelson does not speak for F1 or the FIA and I would imagine his visits to races may have come to an end. I’ve not seen any report of Nelson responding but regardless, F1, the FIA, drivers and teams have all weighed in supporting Lewis. As they should.