Many may not know much about former F1 world champion Nelson Piquet, who found himself in the headlines for his offensive comments towards Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton himself even joked as much when footage resurfaced 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, although he is never far from controversy.
This paddock is the one he’s now been banned from, according to reports, but it’s not the first time he’s been unresponsive to another champion.
Speaking about his compatriot Ayrton Senna who was tragically killed in 1994 following an accident at Imola, Piquet commented on who was the better driver among Brazil’s two triple world champions.
Piquet said: “Another journalist asked me, to be honest, ‘who was better you and Senna?’ I’m alive.”
The horribly thought-out joke prompted an awkward reaction from former Williams team-mate Nigel Mansell, but it wasn’t the first time he had to deal with such antics.
“Mansell is argumentative, he’s rude and he has a really ugly wife,” Piquet told Williams.
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“He is arrogant and after he started winning races he started mistreating everyone. On top of that he wrote off loads of cars. No one wanted him to win.”
Senna had also been the victim of public attacks from Piquet during their run together, calling him “the taxi driver from Sao Paulo” and insinuating that Senna was gay saying “he doesn’t like women”.
Both Mansell and Senna threatened legal action against Piquet, who later retracted his comments.
Neither had been as bad as Eliseo Salazar, who received a barrage of punches and kicks in one of F1’s most famous and graphic fights.
A former Piquet wonderkid, Salazar was lapped by the race leader at the 1982 German Grand Prix when he took him out in rather embarrassing fashion.
Piquet had every right to be annoyed, but his response went a bit too far, shoving Salazar in the face before throwing punches and kicks at him.
Piquet’s family is 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 the crash of his Renault teammate, Piquet Jr..
Two-time champion Alonso had already stopped early for new tyres, and as others came up behind the safety car he climbed into first place which he retained for the race victory.
Piquet Jr. described the accident as a “simple mistake” after the race, but background rumors that it was intentional began to circulate.
The Brazilian was dropped by Renault midway through the following season in 2009, the driver began to clash in court with director Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds.
Piquet Jr. was charged with “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 allegations, but never returned to the F1 grid unlike Briatore and Symonds, who later found new jobs.
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