Nelson Piquet, a three-time Formula One champion, was ordered to pay $950,000 in "moral damages" for racist and homophobic comments he made regarding Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
Piquet, who is from Brazil, referred to Hamilton as "neguinho" – a racially offensive term which means "little Black guy," according to the Associated Press. He was also seen in a video published in Grande Premio last year using homophobic language to say Hamilton was not focused to challenge Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for the 2016 title.
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Piquet was ordered by Brasilia court on Friday to pay 5 million Brazilian reals "in collective moral damages to be allocated for the promotion of racial equality and against discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community." The judge said Piquet’s remarks corresponded to the definition of racial discrimination outlined in Brazil’s 2010 Statute of Racial Equality.
Several human rights groups filed charges in Brazil against Piquet for his comments.
The 70-year-old was discussing a crash between Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen that took place in the British Grand Prix in 2021. His daughter Kelly Piquet is Verstappen’s girlfriend.
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Piquet later apologized for the "ill thought out" racial term but said it "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."
A Brazilian judge said Piquet’s comments implied if Hamilton hadn’t been gay "he would have won the championship. ... Therefore, being gay would be a negative characteristic."
Piquet could appeal the ruling.
Hamilton is a seven-time F1 champion. He has not won a race since the 2021 season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.