Romain Grosjean says he has cleared the air with Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver accused him of failing to support efforts to arrange an anti-racism ceremony before the Hungarian Grand Prix.Hamilton told reporters Grosjean had not supported efforts to repeat the anti-racism protest which was seen at the first race of the season. “He’s one of them that thinks it was done once and that’s all we need to do,” said Hamilton.
Speaking in today’s FIA press conference, Grosjean said seven or eight drivers did not want to repeat the same ceremony which was held before the first race of the season in Austria. He said he put their views across at a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Grosjean, a GPDA director, said on reflection “it was probably the wrong thing to do”.
Hamilton and Grosjean spoke for 45 minutes on the Tuesday after the race. “I explained to Lewis that maybe I did it wrong, maybe I did it right, I don’t know,” said Grosjean. “It felt right at the time that we are two directors in the GPDA and we had, I’ll say, seven or eight drivers that were not happy to carry on the ceremony as it was done – I don’t know if it’s name is ‘ceremony’ – but as it was done in race one in in Austria.
“I said to Lewis, look, maybe I did it wrong, but I felt that as one of the directors, because Sebastian [Vettel] was pushing on in the direction of carrying on ‘end racism’, which is the right approach, I was speaking for the drivers that were not happy to carry on to express their voice as the director of the GPDA.
“Now, thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do. Lewis had some good arguments, I had some also but I think it was the wrong thing to do.”
Further discussions involving GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz and its lawyer with FIA president Jean Todt and Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey have been held since the last race to decide on the future of the ‘end racism’ gestures which have been made before every grand prix so far this year.
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“Later in the week, Alexander Wurz and myself and Anastasia from the GPDA, we had another conf[erence] call with Jean Todt and Chase Carey and making sure that we do things in the right way,” said Grosjean. “It’s hard for us drivers to organise things over an event because we’ve got many things to look at.
“So we wanted more guidance from Liberty and a clear procedure before the race, as we did in Austria race one. And I think that’s going to happen and that’s going to be more clear for all of us to know exactly what to do.”
However Grosjean made it clear to Hamilton he was unhappy about the comments he gave to the media stating the Haas driver “doesn’t think it’s important” to hold anti-racism demonstrations at each race. “I said I wasn’t very happy that in the media it came out.
“On my social media [there’s been a] lot of things about racism and that I’m a racist or whatever, which is absolutely wrong. I don’t think you will find anyone on the world saying that I started something wrong in that aspect. So I wasn’t very happy about about being treated that way.
“I was one of the first ones to support and to push to that we take the knee. I’m still hopeful that one day we get 20 drivers to take the knee on the grid and that it will happen at one point. But we need to keep the education, keep pushing the guys and telling them that this is a sportsman gesture and a way to support a cause and something that shouldn’t exist.”
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