Max Verstappen believes Nelson Piquet is ‘not a racist’ but agrees his choice of words was ‘very offensive’

Verstappen described Piquet, the father of his girlfriend Kelly, as a ‘nice and relaxed guy’ but admitted the word the Brazilian used to describe Lewis Hamilton was ‘not correct’

Nelson Piquet uses racially abusive language to refer to Lewis Hamilton on podcast

Max Verstappen believes Nelson Piquet is not a racist and should not be banned from the F1 paddock - yet agreed that his racist language used to describe Lewis Hamilton was “very offensive.”

Three-time world champion Piquet was widely condemned earlier this week for using racial language to describe Mercedes star Hamilton in an interview - he has since apologised and says his comments were mistranslated.

Piquet is the father of Verstappen’s girlfriend Kelly Piquet and the Red Bull driver - who has “spent time” with the Brazilian - says the 69-year-old did not mean to use a racial slur.

“Everyone is against racism - I think it’s very straight, there’s nothing more you can make of that,” Verstappen said, ahead of the British Grand Prix.

“I think the wording which was used, even though of course with different kinds of cultures and things probably they said when they were little and younger, was not correct. Let it be a lesson for the future not to use that word because it’s very offensive and especially nowadays it gains even more traction.”

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

“I’m pretty sure also, in the statement he released, I think you can see the word in two ways. But I think it’s still just better not to use it.

“But it’s not only about that word, it’s not about the ‘n-word’ in general, just using offensive language to anyone, any colour, I think is not correct and that’s what we have to work on in general all over the world not only in F1 with Lewis specifically but to anyone in the world.”

The Belgian-Dutch driver added that he has not spoken to Piquet about the comments from the November interview, insisting the 69-year-old knows it “wasn’t the right word to use.”

“I don’t think he needs me to tell him what is right and what isn’t,” Verstappen added.

“He already said in his statement I think he realised that he used the wrong word. So who am I to then call him? I don’t think it will change anything anyway. I think he realised it was probably not the correct word to use – well, clearly it’s not the correct word to use.

“It can be interpreted in two ways and of course people pick up on the bad side and then it gets really blown out of proportion. Because I know Nelson personally, people label him as a racist now, which I don’t think he is. But I fully agree, of course, that you cannot use these words.

“I think the wording which was used, even though of course with different kinds of cultures and things probably they said when they were little and younger, was not correct. Let it be a lesson for the future not to use that word because it’s very offensive and especially nowadays it gains even more traction.”

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