Nelson Piquet received a severe punishment for his fine against Lewis Hamilton earlier this year.
A Brazilian court overturned the fine imposed on Nelson Piquet Jr for insulting remarks directed at Lewis Hamilton. In 2022, Piquet’s comments came in response to the 2021 British Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Hamilton, when the three-time world champion called Hamilton a “neguinho”. It is Portuguese for “little black man”, but Piquet emphasized that the term is not racist, pointing out how it is sometimes used to describe a “man” or a “person”.
Brazilian human rights groups sued Piquet for the comment and earlier this year he was ordered to pay five million Brazilian reals – around £811,709 at the current exchange rate.
But as first reported by Brazilian publication Metropoles, the Court of the Federal District and Territories, which includes the Brazilian capital, has now canceled the fine imposed on Piquet. Piquet’s lawyers successfully argued that his words were considered deboche, or mockery, as opposed to the more serious discourse of odio, or hate speech.
There is no evidence of hate speech. The use of colloquial [informal] terms, no matter how full of subtle or unintentional racist inspiration, no matter how inappropriate, is not important and significant enough to characterize collective harm,” he explained. judge by unanimous decision.
The court also rejected Piquet’s accusation of homophobia against Hamilton for “giving an ass”, arguing that it was an act that could also be practiced in heterosexual relationships.
The decision is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, Brazil’s highest court.