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Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes chief praises Hamilton in response to Piquet comments

Andrew Shovlin has described Lewis Hamilton as a much-loved member of the Mercedes team following comments made by Nelson Piquet.

Hamilton Miami
To news overview © XPB

Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, has offered his public support to Lewis Hamilton following comments made by former F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet.

The Brazilian called Hamilton a 'neguinho' - a Brazilian-Portuguese term - when referring to the accident between the Mercedes driver and Red Bull's Max Verstappen at last year's British Grand Prix.

Piquet, who is also the father of Verstappen's partner Kelly, then accused Hamilton of sending his rival into the barriers on purpose.

His comments have been strongly condemned by Formula 1, Mercedes and a number of other teams and drivers. He has since apologised, adding that his choice of words was "ill-thought-out".

How did Hamilton respond?

Following statements from F1 and Mercedes, Hamilton himself responded to the comments on his Twitter page.

"It's more than language," the seven-time World Champion wrote. "These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport.

"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."

Shovlin: Hamilton recognises change will take time

One of Hamilton's most senior Mercedes colleagues, Shovlin, has now gone public with his support and has praised the way in which Hamilton has dealt with both Piquet's comments and the racist abuse he has experienced throughout his racing career.

"He is a very important and much-loved member of the team," Shovlin said of Hamilton, when speaking to Sky Sports.

"Having worked with Lewis for the last 10 years, you can understand a lot of the problems he would have experienced growing up in motorsport, which for a lot of years was a predominantly white British industry.

"That's why he has put so much of his energy behind changing it and some of the important initiatives we've got here; the Accelerate 25, Lewis' charitable work with the team with Ignite, they are all part of that.

"But he recognises that it takes a lot of time to change prejudice, to change opinions, and that's why these are all long-term programs."

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