Nelson Piquet ‘facing £1.6m fine’ over racist Lewis Hamilton comments

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Three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet could reportedly be prosecuted and fined £1.6million for the racist comments he made in reference to Lewis Hamilton after the British Grand Prix in 2021. Piquet was captured on video using a racist term in an interview that surfaced online, during which he discussed the high-speed crash involving the Brit and rival Max Verstappen at Silverstone two years ago.

The 70-year-old was heard using a slang version of the N-word to refer to Hamilton during the interview and later issued a public apology, but insisted that there had been no racist intent behind his use of the term. However, he landed in trouble once again a few months later when he used both racist and homophobic language to describe Hamilton in a separate interview clip that was also shared on social media.

Piquet, who was later banned from the F1 paddock, was speaking about Nico Rosberg’s title success at Hamilton’s expense back in 2016 and said: “The ‘n*******’ was [more focused on] giving a** at that time. He was kinda bad.”

It seems as though Piquet could now be forced to pay around £1.6m in compensation as a result of his comments, with Brazilian outlet O Globo reporting that civil action has been taken against him by the country’s National LGBT+ Alliance among other groups. It is claimed that the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Federal District has also joined the growing calls for Piquet to face legal consequences.

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“During the ill-fated interview in which the defendant comments on an accident that occurred at the Silverstone Grand Prix, in England, in July 2021, he refers multiple times to Lewis Hamilton with contempt, without even mentioning the name of the English pilot, referring to him only as ‘n*******’, and also incurring homophobia,” reads the prosecutors’ petition.

“In the case under discussion, violations of the rights of the victim and the black and LGBTQIA+ population were configured, considering both the plan of international and national regulations.”

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Hamilton, meanwhile, remains the only black driver in F1 and continues to use his position to campaign for racial equality in the sport and in wider society. He issued a response to Piquet’s comments shortly after they surfaced on social media with a series of tweets, in which he expressed his desire to see attitudes improve in order to bring about positive change.

“Let’s focus on changing the mindset,” said Hamilton. “It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”

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