Nelson Piquet called to state case in Federal court in Brazil after allegations of racist and homophobic language

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Charges brought by human rights groups want Piquet to pay 10m Brazilian reals (£1.56 m) for allegedly causing moral damage to black and LGBTQ+ people; footage emerged of Piquet using a perceived homophobic slur against Lewis Hamilton, along with racially offensive language

Last Updated: 12/07/22 7:30am


A Brazilian judge on Monday ordered an investigation be opened into allegations retired Formula One driver Nelson Piquet used racist and homophobic slurs about Lewis Hamilton.

The charges were brought by four human rights groups, which want three-time world champion Piquet to pay 10m Brazilian reals (£1.56m) for allegedly causing moral damage to black and LGBTQ+ people.

Piquet will have 15 days to state his case to judge Felipe Costa da Fonseca Gomes of the Distrito Federal court. He did not reply to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

An interview with the Brazilian from last year surfaced, in which he twice used a racially offensive expression in Portuguese when referring to Hamilton.

The 69-year-old was discussing the collision between Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the 2021 British GP, with the comments resurfacing on social media ahead of the first anniversary of the crash.

“The [racist term] put his car there to hit him on purpose,” Piquet said.

Later asked if he felt Hamilton would not make the corner at Copse, Piquet went on to say: “Him? Never!

“He wanted to take him out no matter the cost. The [racist term] left the car there to hit him.

“It’s because you don’t know that bend. It’s a very fast one, and two cars can’t get through. There’s no way two cars can go side by side there. It was a dirty trick!

“He’s just lucky that the only other guy got screwed.”

It led to widespread condemnation from the whole F1 paddock, Formula 1 and the FIA, with Hamilton himself calling for “action” and insisting “archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport”.

In person ahead of the British GP, Hamilton issued a passionate and dignified response to Piquet’s comments.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of racism, criticism, negativity, archaic narratives and undertones of discrimination for a long, long time, and there’s nothing really particularly new for me,” the seven-time F1 champion said. “It’s more about the bigger picture.

“I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform.

Lewis Hamilton responds to comments made by Nelson Piquet and thinks 'older voices' in motorsport should not be given a platform as they do not represent the majority

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Lewis Hamilton responds to comments made by Nelson Piquet and thinks ‘older voices’ in motorsport should not be given a platform as they do not represent the majority

Lewis Hamilton responds to comments made by Nelson Piquet and thinks ‘older voices’ in motorsport should not be given a platform as they do not represent the majority

“They’re speaking upon our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely different. If we’re looking to grow in the US, other countries, South Africa, we need to look to the future and give the younger people a platform, who are more representative of today’s time.

“It’s not just about one individual, it’s not about the one use of that term, it’s the bigger picture.”

Lewis Hamilton opens up on how he deals with abuse and shares his advice for young people who may be going through similar situations

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Lewis Hamilton opens up on how he deals with abuse and shares his advice for young people who may be going through similar situations

Lewis Hamilton opens up on how he deals with abuse and shares his advice for young people who may be going through similar situations

The day prior to Hamilton speaking, Piquet had issued his own statement, wanting to “clear up the stories”.

He apologised “wholeheartedly” to Hamilton but “strongly condemns any suggestion” he racially abused his fellow Formula 1 world champion, claiming his comments had been mis-translated.

“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it,” said Piquet.

“But I will clarify that the term used is 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.

“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour.

“I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct.

“Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”

Further footage also emerged of Piquet using a perceived homophobic slur against Hamilton, along with racially offensive language when speaking on a podcast from last year.

Speaking on the podcast, Piquet said: “Keke (Rosberg) was s***. He’s worthless. His son won a championship.”

Asked whether he was referring to Nico, he said of Hamilton: “The [racist term] must have been [perceived homophobic slur] at the time. He was pretty bad.”





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