Despite his apology, Nelson Piquet disgraced himself in the eyes of the Formula 1 community with racist and disparaging remarks aimed at Lewis Hamilton, during an interview late last year with Damon Hill dismayed by the Brazilian racing legend.
Ahead of the British Grand Prix, seven months since it was recorded, for some reason, the video clip re-emerged and went viral, prompting official statements from Brazilian government officials F1, Mercedes, Hamilton as well as numerous drivers and supporters, while Piquet has issued an apology for his ill-thought words.
Most of his F1 colleagues have shown solidarity with Hamilton and come out in support through the various social media portals, including Twitter and Instagram.
Asked for his thoughts the Piquet saga and how the F1 world would react to the Brazilian, Hill told Sky F1: “I don’t think he’d be very welcome if he did turn up.”
Nelson is, of course, the father of Kelly Piquet who is these days a permanent fixture in the Red Bull paddock compound and pits as Max Verstappen’s partner; also mother of Daniil Kvyat’s child.
The ‘word’ from F1 HQ is that from now on Piquet Senior is from now on persona non-grata.
Reacting to the news, Hill, echoed many F1 fans’ sentiments regarding the three-time F1 World Champion: “I’ve always felt Nelson was a bit of an acquired taste, and I didn’t really acquire the taste. 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 F1 driver, perhaps more than we’ll ever understand,” added Hill.
Hamilton’s deep admiration for Senna adds to Piquet’s resentment and bitterness
Piquet senior was a regular face in the paddock when his son Nelsoninho (Nelson junior) had an ill-fated spell in F1, he too disgraced for ‘throwing’ the Singapore Grand Prix for Renault under instruction from Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds
Of late, Piquet did on occasions attend Grand Prix races, at Interlagos, he was often one of the star attractions and used as a face of the race, podium presentations and the like but now faces a paddock ban.
Hill continued: ‘Everyone knew the response was directed at quotes attributed and confirmed by Nelson. 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,” explained the 1996 F1 World Champion.
Ironically Hamilton, a two-time winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix, was recently granted honorary Brazilian citizenship as his love for the country and admiration for their favourite racing son – Ayrton Senna – is well known.
A fact that probably irks Piquet who was never loved as much as Senna was by his own Brazilian people, and never had a kind word to say about Ayrton when he was alive, while his sharp tongue or peculiar ‘humour’ was not to everyone’s taste
He was and will be tolerated, because of his incredible F1 record, 23 Grand Prix victories with three F1 titles Nelson Piquet Souto Maior is one of the greats of the sport, a great racing driver, but it’s a pity about the man.