8:14 AM PT -- Verstappen's GF, Kelly, has apparently made her stance clear ... liking an Instagram post defending Nelson's use of the word.
Lewis Hamilton is demanding change after former champion Nelson Piquet called him the n-word in an interview last year ... saying racism of any kind has no place in Formula 1.
Piquet -- a Brazilian F1 legend who won titles in 1981, 1983 and 1987 -- made the comments while discussing an accident in the first lap of the 2021 Silverstone Grand Prix ... when Hamilton made contact with Max Verstappen, leading the Red Bull driver to lose control and crash into the wall.
According to CNN Brazil, 69-year-old Piquet referred to Hamilton as a "little n*****" while speaking with Motorsports Talk ... adding, "The little black guy put the car in and left because there was no way to pass two cars on that corner."
"He made a joke," Piquet continued. "Lucky for him, only the other one [Verstappen] got f***** up."
FYI -- Piquet's daughter, Kelly, is in a relationship with Verstappen.