Brazilian Nelson Piquet used racist, homophobic language against Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver in the sport.
Brazil’s three-time Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet must pay five million Brazilian reals ($953,050) moral damages for racist and homophobic remarks against Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, a Brazilian court has ruled.
In a November 2021 interview, Piquet used a racial slur referring to the seven-time world champion when he commented on Hamilton’s British Grand Prix crash with Max Verstappen.
Hamilton called for action to change the “archaic mindset” after footage of the interview surfaced on social media last June.
“It’s more than language. This archaic mentality needs to change and has no place in our sport,” Hamilton, who was recently awarded honorary Brazilian citizenship and is the only black driver in the sport, said on Twitter at the time.
“I am surrounded by these attitudes and have been focused all my life. There has been enough time to learn. It is time for action.”
Piquet, 70, apologized to Hamilton and said his comments had been mistranslated. Piquet’s daughter Kelly is Verstappen’s partner.
In another clip that later surfaced, Piquet used racist and homophobic language against Hamilton in a podcast when he described how Hamilton missed out on the 2016 championship to Nico Rosberg.
The charges were brought by four human rights groups, including Brazil’s National LGBT+ Alliance, which wanted Piquet to pay 10 million Brazilian real for alleged moral damages.
In his decision, Judge Pedro Matos de Arruda said the amount of damages was given “in the sense that one must appreciate not only the restorative function of civil liability, but also (and perhaps especially) the punitive function, so that we as a society can be one day free from the pernicious acts that are racism and homophobia”.