Nelson Piquet says racial slur aimed at Lewis Hamilton had no racist intent

    Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet has apologized for using a racial slur aimed at Lewis Hamilton.

    (CNN)Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet has apologized for his racial slur aimed at Lewis Hamilton and said his comments had no racist intent.

    Piquet used a Brazilian Portuguese racial slur to describe seven-time champion Hamilton when addressing a high-speed collision involving Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the Silverstone Grand Prix last year.
    Verstappen is dating Piquet's daughter, Kelly.
      The racist term was used by the three-time F1 world champion in November of last year, but only came to light recently, when the interview was released Monday.
        "I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year," Piquet said in a statement sent to CNN.
        "What I said was ill-thought-out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for 'guy' or 'person' and was never intended to offend.
        "I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin color.
          Lewis Hamilton, pictured here with his mother after being appointed as a Knight Bachelor (Knighthood) for services to motorsport, was called a racial slur by Piquet.
          "I apologize 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.
          "Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect."
          On Tuesday, Formula One, Mercedes and the FIA condemned Piquet for using the racial slur and Hamilton responded to Piquet's comments in a series of posts on Twitter, writing: "Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade" -- Portuguese for "Let's focus on changing the mindset."
          Hamilton, who has the most race wins in F1 history, said the "time has come for action" on racism.
          "It's more than language. These are archaic mindsets [that] need to change and have no place in our sport," Hamilton said on Twitter. "I've been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action."
          Piquet's comments have been widely condemned in the sport.
          Fellow Brit George Russell spoke out in support of his Mercedes teammate.
          "Huge respect to LH," he wrote on Twitter. "He has done more for the sport than any driver in history, not just on track but off it.
          "The fact that he and so many others are STILL having to deal with this behaviour is unacce