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F1 drivers clear the air over anti-racism protests

Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean yesterday announced that they had cleared the air after the six-times Formula One champion accused the ‘Haas’ driver of wanting to drop anti-racism protests taking place all over the world after the brutal murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Mercedes driver Hamilton had critically talked about Grosjean, who is also one of the directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), after Grosjean’s rushed and disorganised gesture before the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 19.

Formula One F1 - British Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain - July 30, 2020 Haas' Romain Grosjean wears a protective face mask in the paddock ahead of the British Grand Prix. Image credit REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

The Briton, F1’s only Black driver and prominent among those taking a knee, said at the time: “He doesn’t think it’s important to do it. He’s one of them that thinks that it was done once and that’s all we need to do”.

Grosjean replied to the reporters at the British Grand Prix that he had a 45-minute phone conversation with Hamilton on the Tuesday after the race.

“I said to Lewis ‘Look, maybe I did it wrong’.

“I felt that as one of the directors, (co-director) Sebastian (Vettel) was pushing 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.

“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,” Grosjean concluded.

Image credit REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Grosjean said that the GPDA had spoken with F1 chairman Chase Carey and Jean Todt on a conference call to make sure that things among F1 were done in the right way in future with a clear procedure before the race starts.

“I think that’s going to happen,” said in a promising and optimist way the driver.

Hamilton expressed how much auspicious and happy he was by his conversation with Grosjean, adding that he was impressed and very much appreciated the Frenchman’s approach.

“He originally reached out to me to talk after the last race, and we had this great conversation,” Hamilton explained.

“The fact is, we have more in common than we perhaps think. He’s a caring person.

“It’s not easy for anybody to admit that we’re wrong...when we got off the phone, I knew that we were united and we’re going to be working towards the same common goal,” he concluded.

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