Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean spoke for 45 minutes after the Hungarian Grand Prix to clear up a misunderstanding about Formula 1’s ongoing anti-racism.
After the race in Budapest, Hamilton said that Grosjean, one of two directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), believed that the F1 didn’t need to continue its protests against racism, as it had done during the Opener in season Austria. Some F1 drivers took the opportunity to kneel to support the anti-racism movement before each race, but in Hungary the moment was quick and seemed badly planned by the GPDA.
When asked before the UK Grand Prix this weekend whether he had spoken to Hamilton about his comments, Grosjean replied: “Yes, I did speak to Lewis, we had a 45 minute call Tuesday after the race, a really good conversation about a lot of things and F1 in general, but obviously the topic was there. “
Grosjean said he tried to speak on behalf of the GPDA drivers, who believed that the protests against racism should not continue. With his colleague, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, he had urged the protests to continue, but Grosjean believed that the opposite side of the argument needed a voice, which he no longer considered the right approach.
“It was a good conversation with Lewis,” said Grosjean. “I apologized, maybe I did it wrong, but I felt like I had to do it at the time.
“In the GPDA, we’re working on the majority voting system, and I felt that if I wasn’t one of the directors, I wouldn’t do my duty if I didn’t listen to the drivers who didn’t like to continue.” [Hamilton] mentioned that you were one of the directors listening to you and that was his point and I think he was right about that. “
Later that afternoon, Hamilton praised Grosjean for the way he tried and accepted mistakes.
“I was already impressed with the conversation we had afterwards and his approach to our conversation,” said Hamilton. “He originally contacted me to speak after the last race. I called him and we had this great conversation. Ultimately it was very informative for both of us and we learned that we actually have more in common than we might . ” thought.
“He is clearly a caring person. To hear that he said that, it is initially not easy to admit that we are wrong, and that is a great first step. But the fact is, when we felt like we were hung up on that we agreed and would work towards the same common goal.
“I really appreciate Romain. It’s really what we all have to do to open our minds, not to put up barriers or to be defensive, to be open-minded and to acknowledge that sometimes there is a problem, first step and then, how we can work to make it better. “
Hamilton not only spoke to Grosjean, but also took the time to speak with GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz, FIA president Jean Todt, and F1 chiefs Chase Carey and Ross Brawn to make sure everyone was on the same page .
Hamilton said, “At the last race, I said I would talk to the heads of sports and try to get in touch with them and see how we could get more consistent and better. I spent time talking to Alex, to talk to Jean and that’s why we all agree with the GPDA. I spent time talking to Jean, Chase and Ross and they had great conversations to understand what they were planning and doing and to make sure that they know we’re all in the GPDA the same team here.
“Giving things like us a little bit more time before the race so that we can really show how united we are as a sport because other sports have made it better to do this consistently. They were really open-minded and I think it was in the Has to go on throughout the year, so I believe that we will continue to do so at the moment.
“I think there have been some setbacks from some teams, but it is back in the works to bring us all together and I think it is going in the right direction.”
The F1 drivers were not all united when kneeling, six refused to do so at the opening events. While Grosjean said he hoped all 20 would kneel together sometime in 2020, he didn’t think it was right to instruct the drivers what to do.
“Everyone has a different feeling, a different way of expressing their feelings so that you can’t force anyone to do something,” he said. “Your reasons are personal, it’s just a feeling. Your reason may be strong enough for you, but someone else does not feel that it is strong enough.
“Everyone has to do what is right for them. Ideally, it would be nice if 20 riders took their knees next to each other. Some other sports did it. I’m not here to judge or to say it’s very personal, and everyone did it. ” the right to do what he wants to do. But it would be nice to get there someday. “
Grosjean said drivers before the UK Grand Prix will have more time to properly conduct the protest against racism after the rash and disorganized efforts at the Hungarian Grand Prix were heavily criticized.