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Formula 1

Piquet to pay heavy fine for offensive Hamilton remarks

by Jack Cozens
1 min read

Nelson Piquet has been ordered to pay the equivalent of almost £780,000 by a Brazilian court for racist and homophobic comments about Lewis Hamilton.

Piquet was first condemned last summer for a word he used in a Portuguese-language interview in late 2021 while discussing the clash between Hamilton – F1’s first and only Black driver – driver and Max Verstappen at Silverstone that year.

He attempted to apologise for that – while claiming his use of the word “neguinho” in the interview, a word that can be directly translated to “little Black man”, was misinterpreted – but further footage emerged of him using the same term as well as homophobic language towards the seven-time F1 world champion.

Action was brought against Piquet – who has been banned from the F1 paddock – by human rights groups including Brazil’s National LGBT+ Alliance. They wanted Piquet to pay 10 million Brazilian Reals in compensation.

The court ruled on Friday that Piquet must pay half of that sum – five million Brazilian Reals, which is the equivalent of £779,310.

In justifying that figure, Judge Pedro Matos de Arrudo – as reported by Reuters – said it was appropriate “in the sense that one should not only appreciate the reparative function of civil liability but also (and perhaps mainly) the punitive function so that, as a society, we can someday be free from the pernicious acts that are racism and homophobia”.

Hamilton, who was made an honorary Brazilian citizen last year, called out “archaic mindsets” at the time that Piquet’s first derogatory remarks emerged.

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