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Hamilton praises Brazil for fining Piquet over racist comments

Lewis Hamilton Thursday applauded the hefty fine imposed on three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet for racist remarks about the British driver, saying people “full of hate” should not be tolerated.

Piquet was fined US$945,000 last weekend for calling Hamilton “neguinho” (“little black”) in a 2021 interview. 

In handing down its judgement, a court in Brasilia ruled that the “intolerable” remarks constituted a “serious offence to the fundamental values of society”.

World champion in 1981, 1983 and 1987, Piquet used the term while criticising Hamilton’s role in a clash with Max Verstappen, his daughter Kelly’s boyfriend, at the British Grand Prix the same year. 

Seven-time world champion Hamilton praised Brazil for its action.

“I still believe that we generally shouldn’t be giving people that are just full of hate a platform,” he said in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

“I’d like to acknowledge the Brazil government, I think it’s pretty amazing what they’ve done in holding someone accountable, showing people that that is not tolerated.

“Racism and homophobia is not acceptable, and there is no place for it within our society. So I love that they’ve shown that they stand for something.”

Piquet, 70, was fined for “collective moral damages” with the money being donated to groups fighting against discrimination.

He had issued an apology, saying his words were wrong but that he did not intend to offend.

However, the court was not convinced, ruling that “the absence of intention could not justify discriminatory behaviour towards minorities”.

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