Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean have cleared the air regarding their respective stance on Formula 1’s anti-racism message.
The Haas driver – a GPDA director – was criticized by Hamilton for his initial unwillingness to transform the drivers’ Austrian Grand Prix ‘End Racism’ and take-a-knee ceremonial into a regular occurrence this season.
In Thursday’s FIA press conference at Silverstone, Grosjean justified his initial stance by the fact that seven or eight drivers did not want to repeat the pre-race act, the Frenchman reflecting the view of the minority at a GPDA meeting held before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
In hindsight, and after a 45-minute phone conversation with Hamilton held on the Tuesday after Hungary, Grosjean admitted that he perhaps had the wrong attitude.
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“It was a good chat with Lewis,” said the Haas driver. “I said sorry, maybe I did it the wrong way, but I felt that I had to do it at the time.
“In the GPDA, we work on the majority vote system, and I felt that if I wasn’t, as one of the directors, listening to the drivers who were not happy to carry on, I wasn’t doing my duties.
“He [Hamilton] mentioned that as one of the directors they’re listening to you, and that was his point, and I think he was right in that aspect.”
However, Grosjean admitted to taking exception to Hamilton’s public criticism which led to a barrage of slander and outrage directed at him on social media
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“It was a really good phone call and I also said I wasn’t very happy that the media [stories] came out, and on my social media there were a lot of things about racism and that I am a racist and whatsoever, which is absolutely wrong.
“I don’t think you will find anyone in the world saying that I did something something wrong in that aspect. So I wasn’t very happy about being treated that way.
“I was one of the first ones to support, and to push, that we take the knee. I’m still hopeful that one day we will get 20 drivers to take the knee on the grid, and that it will happen at one point.”
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Looking ahead, Grosjean said that F1 and FIA had agreed to organize for the drivers a dedicated short action before the British Grand Prix to avoid the chaotic ritual that took place in Hungary.
“It’s hard for us drivers to organise things over an event because we’ve got many things to look at,” Grosjean explained.
“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.”
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