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Hill: Piquet’s ‘beyond the pale’ racial slur demands apology and action

1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill says Nelson Piquet’s “beyond the pale” racial slur directed against Lewis Hamilton demands an apology and action to be taken.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The F1 paddock has united to show its support for Hamilton over the past 24 hours after an interview with Piquet surfaced in which he used a racist remark in reference to the Mercedes driver.

Both F1 and the FIA issued statements rebuking Piquet’s comments, while Hamilton said it was “time for action” to change “archaic mindsets” within the sport.

Piquet is yet to issue any public apology to Hamilton amid calls for the Brazilian’s F1 paddock access to be revoked and for action to be taken.

Ex-Williams, Arrows and Jordan driver Hill, who now serves as a pundit for Sky Sports F1, said during a media roundtable on Wednesday morning that he did not think Piquet “would be very welcome if he did turn up.”

“I’ve always felt Nelson was a bit of an acquired taste, and I didn’t really acquire the taste,” said Hill.

“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.

Damon Hill

Damon Hill

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“Poor Lewis for having to put up with this constantly. It’s blighted his experience of being a Formula 1 driver, perhaps more than we’ll ever understand.”

Asked by Autosport about the need for proper action from F1 and the FIA, Hill drew comparisons to Red Bull’s quick decision to terminate test and reserve driver Juri Vips’ contract over his use of a racial slur.

“This was a case of there being verifiable evidence that something was said and done,” Hill said, referring to Piquet’s comment.

“You’ve got Juri Vips as well - swift action has been taken against Juri. We have to be sure that 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 that it upholds certain values. But the argument against that was they couldn’t be political. That’s what their response was, it was we’re not a political organisation, we can’t.

“But this is not politics. This is decent human values. And surely a sport should be about those things.”

Watch Damon Hill live at Silverstone on Sky Sports F1 this weekend on Sunday from 1.30pm.

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