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Grosjean clears air with Hamilton over anti-racism message

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Grosjean clears air with Hamilton over anti-racism message
By:
Jul 30, 2020, 2:29 PM

Romain Grosjean says he held a 45-minute phone call with Lewis Hamilton after the Hungarian Grand Prix to clear the air over a misunderstanding about Formula 1’s anti-racism push.

Hamilton was left annoyed at comments made by Grosjean, who suggested that drivers did not need to continue taking the knee at every race following a show of unity at the season opener. 

Grosjean’s remark prompted Hamilton to speak out about what he felt was an unnecessary ‘battle’ to keep his anti-racism push at the front of people’s minds.

But it has emerged that Grosjean was only adopting that stance because he felt, as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), that he had to represent those members who were not comfortable in continuing with the protests.

Speaking ahead of the British Grand Prix about their phone call, Grosjean admitted that perhaps his stance had been wrong, but equally he was upset that Hamilton’s criticisms led to him being labelled a racist on social media.

“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.

“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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Grosjean said that having settled matters with Hamilton, the GPDA and the world champion held talks with the FIA and Liberty Media about organising a more formal protest at Silverstone this weekend.

“It's hard for us drivers to organise things over an event, because you know we've got many things to look at,” he added. “So we wanted more guidance from Liberty and a clear procedure, before the race, as we did in Austria race one.

“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.”

Grosjean explained that F1 would try to organise things more like happened before the first race of the season, with a ceremony in front of the grid during the build up to the race.

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