Hamilton welcomes Brazilian court judgement against Piquet

Lewis Hamilton has praised the Brazilian authorities for taking action against Nelson Piquet and holding the three-time Formula 1 world champion “accountable” for racist and homophobic comments.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Last week Piquet was fined £780,000 by a Brazilian court for the comments, which he made on a podcast in November 2021 in response to a question about the clash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen at that year’s British Grand Prix.

Shortly afterwards Piquet apologised, conceding that his language "was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it".

He also said that the racist term he used was not intended to be derogatory and was "one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for 'guy' or 'person' and was never intended to offend".

Last week the matter came to court after four groups took action, including Brazil’s National LGBT+ Alliance.

They sued Piquet for 10 million Reals (£1.58m) for moral damages, and the judgement in Brasilia’s civil court was in their favour, but for half that amount.

The judge noted that the fine reflected not only "the reparatory function of civil responsibility, but also (and perhaps mainly) the punitive function, precisely so that as a society we can one day get rid of the pernicious acts that are racism and homophobia".

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet

Photo by: Rodrigo Ruiz

Asked in Melbourne on Thursday about the decision, Hamilton made it clear he was pleased that action had been taken.

"I think back when it happened I made comments on it," he said. "I think I still believe that we generally shouldn't be giving people that are just full of hate a platform.

"I'd like to acknowledge the Brazil government, I think it's pretty amazing what they've done in holding someone accountable, showing people that that is not tolerated.

"Racism and homophobia is not acceptable, and there is no place for it within our society. So I love that they've shown that they stand for something.

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"I wish that more governments out there would do that, such as you've just seen in Uganda [that passed a bill to impose a death penalty for homosexuality].

"Obviously there are over 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East [with laws in place against homosexuality].

"There's a lot of that can be learned from that."

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