Three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet has been at the centre of everyone’s attention following his racist remarks on Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton’s personality may not be to the liking of a lot of people, but most stood by him when footage of a racial slur used by Piquet at last year’s British Grand Prix resurfaced recently.
Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher were some of the prominent names to take Hamilton’s side in the F1 community.
The crash between Hamilton and Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix had sparked the entire controversy. While Max had to be taken to hospital, Hamilton went on to win the race.
In an interview, Piquet used a derogatory word for Hamilton.
Till now, Verstappen had largely chosen to remain silent on the topic, but when he did finally address the matter, it’s fair to say that the internet did not take very kindly to it.
Defending Piquet, Verstappen said, “He’s definitely not a racist.”
Some were quick to realise Verstappen’s position, given that he is dating Piquet’s daughter Kelly. However, there was also another section that felt that Verstappen’s attitude was symbolic of the culture that Red Bull operates in.
“I’ve spent a bit of time with Nelson… He’s actually a really nice and relaxed guy,” Verstappen said.
“People label him as a racist now, which I don’t think he is, but I fully agree that you cannot use those words.
“Let it be a lesson for the future not to use that word, because it’s very offensive, and especially nowadays, it gains more traction.”
How did people react?
Following Max’s defence of his potential father-in-law, things got very edgy for him.
Among noted sportspersons outside F1, tennis sensation Naomi Osaka was also appalled to see the manner in which Verstappen defended Piquet.
Some fans also felt that personal affiliation meant Verstappen was forced to defend Piquet and he would’ve been better off just staying silent.
Genuinely what's the difference between Ecclestone defending Putin and Max defending Piquet? Both undermining serious issues because of their personal relationships. So because Max likes Piquet and they have a wonderful time together, we should move on from the racist attack? pic.twitter.com/DHhkRnrQ2r— Naj ✨ (@f1NajLH) June 30, 2022
Even loyal fans of Verstappen were quite shocked to hear his opinion.
Who is Max Verstappen?— Sem (@SchipperenSem) June 30, 2022
1.The reason I live🙏.
3.The man that lets me survive‼️
4.The reason I have a job💯
5.The true colors of joy✅
6.The reason I don’t kill myself yet🙏🏼
7.The man that makes me happy😃
8. The guy that sometimes needs to shut up
Max’s media interaction on this topic didn’t stop here. He was unhappy that F1 decided to place a ban on him following the incident coming to light.
“You have to communicate. Communication is really important because if you just ban, it’s not helping what you’re trying to enforce,” Verstappen said.
“You’re trying to educate people. So, it’s better to have a chat.”
“You have a good chat and you apologise.”
Verstappen went on to say that a three-time world champion didn’t “deserve” to be banned from the paddock.
Do you think Max Verstappen should’ve just stayed silent or do you agree with his views? Let us know in the comments.