Who is Nelson Piquet? The Formula 1 champion embroiled in Lewis Hamilton racism scandal has never been far from controversy, having insulted a teammate’s wife and having a trackside fight June 29, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

Many may not know much about former F1 world champion Nelson Piquet, who’s found himself in the headlines for his offensive comments towards Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton himself even joked as much when footage re-emerged of the Brazilian using a racist term to describe the Mercedes driver, retweeting a message about not knowing who he was.

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Piquet used to be a regular face around the paddock but that will be no more

The three-time champion had previously been pictured alongside seven-time champion Hamilton at Niki Lauda’s funeral

AFP

The three-time champion had previously been pictured alongside seven-time champion Hamilton at Niki Lauda’s funeral

However, as a three-time former champion, Piquet is unmistakable throughout the paddock, despite never being far from controversy.

That paddock is one he’s now been banned from, according to reports, but this isn’t the first time he’s been insensitive about a fellow champion.

Speaking about countryman Ayrton Senna who was tragically killed in 1994 due to a crash at Imola, Piquet was commenting on who was the better driver out of the two Brazilian triple world champions.

Piquet said: “Another journalist asked me, being honest, ‘who was the best you and Senna?’ I’m alive.”

The horrendously thought out joke provoked an awkward reaction from former Williams teammate Nigel Mansell, but it wasn’t the first time he’d had to deal with such antics.

“Mansell is argumentative, he’s rude and he’s got a really ugly wife,” Piquet said while at Williams. 

Piquet’s terrible Senna joke went down like a lead balloon

Twitter @reylews

Piquet’s terrible Senna joke went down like a lead balloon

And Mansell had to deal with plenty of abuse during their racing days too

AFP

And Mansell had to deal with plenty of abuse during their racing days too


“He’s arrogant, and after he started winning races he started treating everyone really badly. Besides which, he’s written off piles of cars. No one wanted him to win.”

Senna too had been on the end of public attacks from Piquet during their time racing together, calling him ‘the Sao Paulo taxi driver,’ and insinuating that Senna was gay saying, ‘he doesn’t like women’.

Both Mansell and Senna threatened legal action against Piquet, who later withdrew his comments.

Senna was also attacked by his countryman

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Senna was also attacked by his countryman

Neither had it as bad as Eliseo Salazar though, who was the recipient of a barrage of punches and kicks in one of F1’s most famous and graphic fights.

A former prodigy of Piquet, Salazar was being lapped by the race leader at the 1982 German Grand Prix when he rather embarrassingly took him out.

Piquet had every right to be annoyed, but his response went a little too far, shoving Salazar in the face before aiming punches and kicks at him.

Piquet was understandably livid

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Piquet was understandably livid

But his reaction was disproportionate

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But his reaction was disproportionate

Salazar was lucky to be wearing a helmet as punches flew in

Salazar was lucky to be wearing a helmet as punches flew in

Piquet’s family are also heavily involved in F1. His daughter, Kelly, is dating reigning world champion Max Verstappen, while his son, Nelson Piquet Jr., left F1 in 2009 following one of the sport’s most infamous scandals.

An incident at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, later dubbed ‘crashgate’ saw Fernando Alonso win the race from 15th on the grid due to his Renault teammate, Piquet Jr. crashing.

Two-time champion Alonso had already pitted early for new tyres, and as others came in behind the safety car, he moved up to first place which he held onto for the race win.

Kelly, who has a child with former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, is in a relationship with Verstappen

Rex

Kelly, who has a child with former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, is in a relationship with Verstappen

While Nelson Jnr was involved in one of the sport’s most controversial crashes

While Nelson Jnr was involved in one of the sport’s most controversial crashes

And later had to go to court after his F1 career came to an end

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And later had to go to court after his F1 career came to an end

Piquet Jr. described the crash as a ‘simple mistake’ post-race, but background rumours that it was intentional began to circulate.

The Brazilian was dropped by Renault halfway through the following season in 2009 the driver began to clash in court with director Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds.

Piquet Jr. was accused of ‘false allegations’ after he said he was told to crash, while Symonds claimed the idea came from the driver.

Piquet Jr. later won a libel case against those claims, but never returned to the F1 grid unlike Briatore and Symonds, who later found new jobs.

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