Max Verstappen has called Nelson Piquet’s recent racist comments about Lewis Hamilton ‘wrong’, but he also commented that things wouldn’t be resolved by simply banning him from the paddock.
The Formula 1 fraternity universally condemned the three-time World Champion after using a racial slur to describe Lewis Hamilton on a Brazilian podcast after he was asked for his thoughts on the controversial Lap 1 collision between the two great rivals at Copse in last year’s British Grand Prix.
Shortly after his comments had gone viral, many called for Piquet to have his lifetime paddock pass revoked in spite of an apology issued by the Brazilian. In his apology, Piquet said that his words were incorrectly interpreted, but nevertheless, he apologised to anyone who had been offended.
When asked about his partner’s father’s comments in the Red Bull motorhome, Verstappen stated that although he thought Piquet’s remarks were wrong, he called for him to be educated and not to be exiled from the paddock.
“I’ve said it before everyone is against racism; I think it’s very straight; there is nothing more you can make of that. The wording which was used even if we know that with different kinds of cultures and things they probably said when they were younger was not correct, and yeah, let it be a lesson for the future not to use that word because it’s very offensive. Especially nowadays, there is more traction.”
“I’ve spent a bit of time with Nelson, I think more than the average person in general, and he’s definitely not a racist, and he’s actually a nice and relaxed guy. I am pretty sure that in the statement he released, you can see the word in two ways, but I think it’s still just better to not use it.
"But it’s not only about that word; it’s not about the n-word; in general, using offensive language towards any person of colour is not correct, and that’s what we need to work on, not just in Formula 1.”
“I think it’s better to open a conversation instead of banning people; when you ban people, you aren’t helping the situation; you’re not talking; you have to communicate.
"If you just ban someone, it’s not helping what you are trying to enforce; you’re trying to educate people, so it’s better to have a chat, and these things can be very easily solved. If you fight someone, and you insult someone, and you have a good chat, and you apologise, things can be easily forgotten, and these things are exactly the same. I don’t think he should be banned from the paddock, especially a three-times World Champion.”