‘He’s definitely not a racist’: Max Verstappen believes it is WRONG to expel his father-in-law Nelson Piquet from F1 despite his derogatory slur against Lewis Hamilton… as he insists the ban does not ‘help the situation’

  • Nelson Piquet apologised for Lewis Hamilton slur, but said it was mistranslated
  • It is understood ex-world champion will not be welcomed back in the paddock
  • Max Verstappen, however, believes it is wrong to expel Piquet from Formula One 
  • He insists ban does not ‘help’, and says opening a conversation would be better

World champion Max Verstappen insists Nelson Piquet is not racist and believes it is wrong to expel him from Formula One.

Verstappen, whose girlfriend Kelly Piquet is the Brazilian triple world champion’s daughter, also claimed the offensive remarks – which have overshadowed the build-up to this weekend’s British Grand Prix – have been blown out of proportion.

Piquet, 69, issued an apology to Hamilton on Wednesday, but said the term – which he used when describing the British driver’s first-lap collision with Verstappen at Silverstone last year – was mistranslated.

‘Everyone is against racism and I think that’s very straight,’ said Verstappen. ‘The wording that was used was not correct.

‘But I’ve spent a bit of time with Nelson, more than the average person, and he’s definitely not a racist. He’s actually a really nice, relaxed guy.

‘It’s not about the n-word, it’s about using offensive language in general.

F1 world champion Max Verstappen has insisted Nelson Piquet (pictured above) is not a racist

Verstappen believes banning Piquet, despite his racial slur against Lewis Hamilton, is wrong

Nelson 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.’

‘But he doesn’t need me to tell him what is right and what isn’t. 

‘He already said in his statement, he used the wrong words.

‘It can be interpreted in two ways, people pick up on the bad side, and then of course it gets really blown out of proportion.’

It is understood that Piquet, who won the world championship in 1981, 1983 and 1987, will not be welcomed back into the paddock.

Earlier on Thursday, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, which owns Silverstone, announced they were suspending Piquet’s membership with a view to terminating their association at a board meeting next week.

A statement read: ‘In view of the BRDC’s zero-tolerance policy towards any act involving or suggesting racism, the BRDC Board has concluded that Mr Piquet Sr’s use of racially offensive language to describe a fellow BRDC member (and seven-time world champion) is unacceptable and represents conduct that is wholly inappropriate for an Honorary Member of the BRDC, notwithstanding his subsequent apology.

‘Accordingly, we have advised Mr Piquet Sr that his membership has been suspended with immediate effect.

Piquet apologised for the derogatory remark aimed at Hamilton, but said it was mistranslated

The former 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 the first lap

‘Following the Club’s due process, it is anticipated that the Board will terminate Mr Piquet Sr’s membership at a board meeting to be held after the required seven-day notice period.’ 

But Verstappen, who holds a 46-point lead in the championship, added: ‘It’s better to open a conversation instead of banning. When you ban people, you’re actually not even helping the situation.

‘You’re not talking. You need to communicate and communication is really important. You’re trying to educate people, so it’s better to have a chat and these things can be easily solved.

‘When you have a fight and you insult someone, you have a chat, you apologise. With this it’s exactly the same.

Verstappen says it is ‘better to open a conversation’ rather than ban Piquet from the paddock

Hamilton described the slur as ‘archaic’ and also insisted that the ‘time has come for action’

‘Things can be easily forgotten – as long as you learn from your mistake and the word that you used. I don’t think you should be banned from the paddock. Especially not a three-time world champion.’

Asked if he had spoken to Piquet, the Dutch driver, 24, replied: ‘It’s not up to me to talk to my father-in-law.

‘For any of you, right, you’re not going to call and say, “Hey man, that’s not correct.” He knows that himself.’

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.

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