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Three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet was fined five million Brazilian reals for comments on F1 star Lewis Hamilton that were deemed racist and homophobic by a Brazilian court. According to the Associated Press, the monetary fine that Piquet has been ordered to pay is roughly equivalent to $950,000 USD.

During a Portuguese language podcast interview in 2021 discussing that year's championship battle between Hamilton and Max Verstappen -- who is dating Piquet's daughter -- Piquet criticized Hamilton for a collision with Verstappen during that year's British Grand Prix, referring to him as "o neguinho" on multiple occasions, a term that roughly translates to "little Black guy" in English.

While Piquet clarified that the term in question has traditionally been used as a colloquialism for "guy" or "fellow" and claimed that he had been mistranslated by English-speaking sources, there was also another Portuguese interview in which Piquet used the same term while also using homophobic language toward Hamilton. 

Charges against Piquet were filed by several human rights groups, with the court ordering Piquet to pay "collective moral damages, to be allocated to funds for the promotion of racial equality and against discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community." The ruling was based on the definition of racial discrimination outlined in Brazil's 2010 Statute of Racial Equality. Piquet, who won the F1 world championship three times in the 1980s, has the right to appeal.

Piquet's comments have contributed to him becoming a divisive figure in his home country of Brazil, as he has also previously disparaged F1 legend and Brazilian national hero Ayrton Senna. A contemporary of Senna -- who was killed in a crash in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix -- Piquet previously claimed that he was better than Senna on the grounds that "I'm alive," and also once claimed that Senna was gay.

Piquet has also had a long history of making inflammatory comments about other F1 drivers and figures. In addition to his comments on Senna, he has also done everything from call Nigel Mansell "an uneducated blockhead" with an "ugly" wife to calling Enzo Ferrari "senile," while also calling 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg "a turd that has no value." 

According to the Associated Press, supporters of Piquet have claimed that the former world champion's comments were unearthed as part of a smear campaign against former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. Piquet was a staunch supporter of Bolsonaro and donated to his failed campaign for reelection.