Lewis Hamilton discusses his experience with race at Formula 1
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British boxing icon Anthony Joshua has taken a stand in solidarity with Lewis Hamilton after the Formula 1 legend was the subject of racist abuse. Hamilton, 37, said “the time has come for action” after footage emerged of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet calling him a racial slur that can be translated to mean “n****r.”
Piquet, 69, has issued an apology for his comments, which were made during his appearance on a podcast in November 2021. However, reports have indicated the Brazilian will nonetheless be banned from future F1 paddocks, a punishment backed by Damon Hill.
Two-time world heavyweight champion Joshua believes the battle against racism is gradually making a difference, however. Having encountered racist abuse himself, the 32-year-old pointed to Hamilton’s as an example that anyone can be made a victim.
“It can happen to anyone – your son or your brother or your nephew – not just Lewis Hamilton – imagine what it’s like for ordinary people who hear it,” Joshua told The Sun. “That’s where it’s really upsetting and that’s why people start rallying and marching because it’s the people who are vulnerable that need to come together against these things.
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“But things are changing – definitely – because people need to understand and explore other people’s culture. Schools that teach kids about religion should also teach about culture – it’s all about education.”
Piquet said he would “never use the word” he has been accused of and insisted the slur—”neguinho”—has different connotations in his native Portuguese. He added: “I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct.”
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Both ‘AJ’ and Hamilton have become increasingly vocal in their fight for equality in recent years. Both athletes have appeared at Black Lives Matter marches to campaign against police discrimination in the United States.
The Mercedes star will hope this week’s controversy doesn’t hurt his fortunes at Silverstone, which will host the British Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton has won seven of the past eight editions of the race but is yet to win in nine outings so far this season.
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