Brazil court probes Nelson Piquet over racist, homophobic slurs about Lewis Hamilton

Court Piquet Hamilton slurs
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SAO PAULO — A Brazilian judge on Monday ordered a court investigation be opened into allegations that three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet used racist and homophobic slurs about Lewis Hamilton.

The 69-year-old Piquet made the comments in interviews filmed in November, which only came to wider attention late in June. Hamilton addressed the comments last month.

The charges were brought by four human rights groups, which want three-time world champion Piquet to pay 10 million Brazilian reals ($1.86 million) for allegedly causing moral damage to Black and LGBTQ people.

Piquet, who did not reply to a request for comment from The Associated Press, will have 15 days to state his case to judge Felipe Costa da Fonseca Gomes of the Distrito Federal court.

Piquet’s comments, made in Portuguese while discussing a crash between seven-time champion Hamilton and Max Verstappen during last year’s British Grand Prix, have been widely condemned by F1 drivers, teams, and the sport’s governing body.

Piquet referred to Hamilton as “neguinho” in Portuguese, which means “little Black guy.” The term is not necessarily a racist slur in Brazil, but it is an expression that is increasingly seen as distasteful, and its phrasing can also emphasize that.

Piquet initially apologized to Hamilton, saying the term was “ill thought out” and not meant to be offensive. He added “neguinho” can be used as a short for “people in general.”

But a second excerpt of the same video, published July 1 by website Grande Premio, left little doubt that Piquet he was singling out Hamilton as “the little Black guy,” to which he added a homophobic slur.

The Brazilian used homophobic language to say the British driver wasn’t focused to challenge Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for the 2016 title.

After the second excerpt was published, Piquet told Motorsport Magazine during the Le Mans classic that the outrage about his comments is irrelevant.

“There is nothing, nothing I said wrong,” Piquet said. “I don’t really care, it doesn’t disturb my life. I am here with my friends, we are having fun, that’s it.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III