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.
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.
“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.
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’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.
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.
Offers Of The Day
888Sport – Bet £10 on Wimbledon, Get £40 In Free Bets* – CLAIM HERE
Min deposit £/€/$10 • Offer is valid until 10/07/2022 23:59 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 on Tennis market • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets expire after 10 days and valid only for Tennis • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & Full T&C’s apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org