Former F1 driver fined for racist and homophobic remarks against Lewis Hamilton

The ruling comes after Nelson Piquet made a number of offensive comments during a podcast interview in 2021.

Left: Nelson Piquet in a cap, Right: Lewis Hamilton holding his helmet.
Image: Left: Wikimedia Commons, Right: Twitter: @LewisHamilton

Retired Formula One (F1) driver, Nelson Piquet, has been fined for making racist and homophobic remarks about Lewis Hamilton. The 70-year-old has been ordered to pay five million Brazilian Reals, or €885,000, following a court decision delivered on Friday, March 24.

The comments in question were made in November 2021, as Piquet appeared on a Brazilian podcast. According to Sky Sports, the three-time world champion used a racially offensive Portuguese term on multiple occasions during the interview, as he spoke about Hamilton’s first-lap crash with Max Verstappen at the 2021 British Grand Prix.

“The [racist term] put his car there to hit him on purpose…He wanted to take him out no matter the cost. The [racist term] left the car there to hit him,” Piquet said.

In another clip, and in reference to Hamilton losing out on the 2016 championship, the Brazilian also reportedly stated: “The [racist term] must have been giving a lot of a** at the time. He was pretty bad.”

The remarks resurfaced in 2022, with Piquet issuing an apology in response to backlash from fans and the sporting community.

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


Shortly after releasing the statement, the former champion was banned from the F1 paddock and stripped of his honorary membership to the British Racing Drivers Club.

The legal charges came from the National LGBT+ Alliance of Brazil and three other human rights groups, who sued Piquet for 10 million Reals (€1,774,000) in moral damages. Last week, Judge Pedro Matos de Arrudo ruled in favour of the organisations, ordering that half of the proposed sum be paid.

In his decision, the arbitrator explained that the amount of compensation was given “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.”

According to the Brasilia court, the funds will be used to promote racial equality and combat discrimination against queer people.

The ruling in response to the racist and homophobic comments came at the same time that Lewis Hamilton publicly condemned Uganda’s new anti-LGBTQ+ bill, in another display of allyship with the community. The legislation, which has been passed by the country’s parliament, criminalises identifying as LGBTQ+ and imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”.


Taking to Instagram, the seven-time F1 world champion wrote: “As if the world doesn’t have enough problems. This is so disappointing.

“Uganda government you need to undo this immediately!!”

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