Vettel, Perez, Norris, and Schumacher give thoughts on Piquet controversy

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Ahead if the British Grand Prix, Formula 1 drivers were asked to comment on Nelson Piquet’s racial slur aimed toward Lewis Hamilton, as well as racism in general.

Recently the F1 world was rocked by two incidents involving racist talk – one from Red Bull’s reserve driver Juri Vips (whose contract has since been terminated), and the other from three-time Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet (who used a racial slur when referring to Lewis Hamilton).

Ahead of the British Grand Prix, Formula 1 drivers were asked to give their comments on this issue. Here are some of their answers:

Sebastian Vettel

“You can always do more, you can never do enough. I think we will be happy to do more and see more happening.

“On the other hand, it would be nice if [we had] gotten rid of the problem a long time ago, [to] prevent people to [say] these type of comments.

“I think the action is our reactions to it, our behaviour towards it, and the examples we’re setting, so [to try] to do something to mobilise people and to educate.

“I think what really matters is that everybody – us on the grid, everybody in this room – every day and every situation that we are in, we act the way we believe and we think is correct.

“That means if we see any sort of abuse, like Lewis had to go through recently, we respond to it.

“But also, if you step into a train and you see something happening in front of you, it’s not time to just think, ‘That’s wrong’. It’s time to speak up and make it clear that it’s wrong.

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“It does take balls to speak up. It does take courage, but we shouldn’t be afraid of these situations anymore, because I think we have more allies than we think.

“In that situation, in the train or bus or anywhere in public, doesn’t matter, could be outside here in the paddock, then it’s up to us to have that courage and to address it straightaway.”

Sergio Perez

“I think, as a sport, we certainly can do more. It will never be enough to try and prevent these things from happening.

“I think we can all learn from it, because everyone in this room one day can make a mistake and say things you don’t want to say, but we can all learn from it and make sure that we give the right example to the younger generations, to the older generation, and be seen as an example for the rest of the of the world.”

Mick Schumacher

“As Seb says, it takes balls to speak up, and I think that if you are that one person who does, I think you will have a lot more followers than some would believe.

“We as drivers, we don’t only support Lewis, but we supported [those] all over the world, that those kind of languages are not acceptable in any way and form.

“Hopefully we’ll make change, and we’ll have an easier time sorting those people out.”

Lando Norris

“I think there is a difference between someone making a mistake and having used just a wrong language and a wrong word, versus someone who’s purposely trying to do it to discriminate and have it in the wrong meaning.

“Any racist language or slurs are never accepted at all. Words do make a big difference, and the fact of how big something like this has become over the last few days [shows that].

“But I don’t think you can ask us what a deserved punishment is for someone that says something like that. If it’s a genuine mistake, it’s hard to know what that kind of punishment is and what’s deserved and what’s not.

“People make mistakes in life, and careers I don’t think should just be ended because of something like that. I think you should be able to get forgiven, and get opportunities at other times and so on.

“But it’s tough where that kind of line is drawn at times.

“I don’t think we’re not doing anything. I think we are doing quite a bit, as a sport, as a community,” he continued.

“It’s always hard to do certain actions. If I asked you, ‘What single thing can we just go out and do, on top of driving, on top of doing everything else that we do?’ It’s not an easy thing.

“We do a lot, we speak up about it. We say these things, we’re talking about it now. I think already things like this have a good impact on everything, so we’ll continue to do that and have the best impact we can.”

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