Former F1 champion Nelson Piquet did an interview last year and, while commenting on race performance between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, used a racial slur in reference to Lewis, multiple times. His racism only came to light on Monday and Lewis addressed the situation yesterday: 


So what’s the action that will be taken? F1 and the FIA have condemned the language but did not name names or call out the specific incident. According to ESPN, Nelson Piquet was to be banned from the F1 paddock if he didn’t apologise. Today Nelson has … well… he has NOT apologised, which is how many media outlets are referring to his statement. Here is the statement and what Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu thinks of it:


When the “apology” is buried in the third paragraph? It’s not an apology. His so-called apology came AFTER his condemnation of his critics! And after a justification for the use of the racial slur – this is a white person whitesplaining his use of a racial slur defending a word that is “considered among Black people in Brazil to be a derogatory reference to race”. 

This is bullsh-t. It is NOT an apology. And the media should not be describing it as such. Nobody should be accepting it as an apology – if anything it’s a double-down on racism which, unfortunately, is not a new experience for Lewis. As another former champion, Damon Hill, said this week: 

“Poor Lewis for having to put up with this constantly. It’s blighted his experience of being a Formula One driver, perhaps more than we’ll ever understand.”


It’s more than Damon will understand. More than I will understand. More than most of us will ever understand. But Serena Williams would understand. She too is a Black athlete who became the very best, the greatest of all time, in a sport that has been aggressively white. Which means that she and Lewis not only had to perform at the highest level, as all their peers do, but perform with these horrific extra challenges. That’s the barrier that some like Max Verstappen, for example, will never have to deal with on his way to his victories. 

When Lewis says that “there has been plenty of time to learn”, it’s because there has been plenty of time to learn. Michael Eaves brings the receipts – but before you click on the tweet, please note there is extremely offensive visual and written content attached to his tweet

But speaking of Max, unlike so many other drivers who’ve spoken up in support of Lewis, he has not commented on the situation. Nelson Piquet’s daughter, Kelly, happens to be his girlfriend. So now we’re heading to Silverstone this weekend. It’s Lewis’s home track. And this is the story currently dominating the sport. Everyone is talking about it. The drivers for sure will be asked about it. Max will be asked about it… if he’s made available to the media which, generally, is standard operation for F1; F1 drivers have a lot more media obligations than athletes from most other sports. That was one of the things that I found most fascinating about Drive to Survive – how much time they allow for media and how much rope the media gets in terms of what they ask and what they say. Like if a driver was sh-t in practice, I’ve heard interviews where the reporters actually say to them, “So why did you drive so badly today?” 


So Max will be asked the question. Or he’ll skip the media…and if he does he’ll be fined. I mean he has the money, that’s not an issue. But if he does skip the media, that in and of itself will be a story on top of an already very big story. 

Meanwhile, Lewis is doing what he needs to do to stay joyful and focused in spite of all the f-ckery he continues to endure. Here he is surfing in Malibu on Monday. Seems like he’s home now though and getting ready for Silverstone.