Lewis Hamilton and GPDA Director Romain Grosjean have cleared their misunderstanding from Hungarian GP relating to the united F1 driver effort.
The whole united F1 driver front hit a roadblock following the first 2020 race at Red Bull Ring where everyone joined in with the ‘End Racism’ shirts on the grid and most took the knee just after the national anthem was done over with.
The two F1 events post it at the same venue and Hungaroring saw some frantic moments, after which Mercedes’ Hamilton talked about some mis-communication, especially with Haas’ Grosjean being the voice of the drivers not wanting to take the knee.
Eventually both connected with each other on the phone following the Hungary event but the damage was done by then against Grosjean – something the Frenchman did not like. In overall terms, he had a nice chat with Hamilton, which the Brit praised.
The GPDA also connected with Jean Todt, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn as Grosjean talked about a better presentation, similar to how it was in Round 1. However, it is certain that not all of the 20 F1 drivers will take the knee as personal judgement will precede.
Here’s whole of what Grosjean said regarding Hamilton, Silverstone and more:
Grosjean – “I have spoken to Hamilton, we had a 45 minute phone call on the Tuesday after the race and a really good chat about many things on F1 in general but also the racism subject. And I explained to him that maybe I did it wrong, maybe I did it right. I don’t know, I felt right at the time that we are two directors in the GPDA, and we had 7/8 drivers that were not happy to carry on the ceremony as it was done I don’t know if it’s named a ceremony, but as it was done in race one in Austria.
“And I said to Hamilton, look maybe I did it wrong but I felt that as one of the director because Sebastian was pushing him in the direction of carry on against racism, which is the right approach, I was talking, I was speaking for the drivers that were not happy to carry on: to express their voice as a director of the GPDA. Thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do, and Lewis put some good arguments I had some also, but I think that was the wrong thing to do.
“And later in the week, Alexander Wurz and myself Anastasia from the GPDA we had another conference call with Jean Todt and Chase Carey, and making sure that, you know, we do things in the right way. And it’s hard for us driver to organise things over an event, because you know 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. But, yeah, it was it was a good chat with Lewis.
“You know I said sorry maybe I did it the wrong way, but so I felt that to do it at the time. Because the GPDA we work on the majority vote system, and I felt that if I wasn’t as one of the director listening to the drivers who were not happy to carry on I wasn’t doing my duties. But also he mentioned that, as it was, you know, he said, as one of the director they’re listening to you, and that was his point, and I think he was, he was right in that aspect.
“So it was a really good phone call and I also said I wasn’t very happy that you know the media came out, I mean on my social media a lot of things about racism and I am a racist and whatsoever, which is absolutely wrong. and I don’t think you will find anyone in the world saying that I did something wrong in that aspect. I wasn’t very happy about being treated that way.
“But again, that’s the explanation, and as I say 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 word to support a cause on something that shouldn’t exist.
“For Silverstone, I think we go back to, as it was for the first race in Austria, with the carpet with a time, so with 40 minutes not 30 minutes, so it’s not that rushed and drivers can go there and express the way in which their gestures in the way they want so this is what’s happening. The reason for all not doing same is that they have is personal. It’s just a feeling so you reason maybe strong enough for you but for someone else who doesn’t feel like it’s strong enough, that’s not really the question.
“Everyone has to do what’s right for them. As I say, ideally it would be nice to have the 20 drivers side by side, taking the knee. I think as mentioned some other sports have managed to go there. But I’m not here to judge or to say they should do it or do it different. The gesture is very personal and everyone has got the right to do what he feels like doing but it would be nice to get there one day.
“I think we were all united with the fact that we were for ending racism. Some of the guys are bit afraid of being linked to any political movement. And I don’t think it’s right and I don’t think it’s happening but maybe I’m wrong again, I don’t feel like it. I’m not linked to the political movement I’m just linked that, I really don’t understand racism.
I really don’t know how it can exist in that way. And, talking with, obviously, I never experienced it, and talking to Hamilton was very interesting. And, you know, streams that you can really even imagine so. I don’t think it should divide opinions, if anything, you should put us together and help us use our image to stop that, because it shouldn’t happen.”
Hamilton had praise for Grosjean for admitting his mistake:
Hamilton – “I wasn’t aware of his admission but I was already impressed with a conversation that we’ve had afterwards. And his approach to our conversation. He originally reached out to me to talk after the last race. And so I gave Grosjean a call and we had this great conversation. I think both, it was quite informative for the both of us and we, we learned that we’re actually. We have a lot…the fact is we have more in common than we perhaps think. And he’s clearly a caring person.
“So I mean to hear that he said that is, it’s not easy for obviously to, for anybody to admit, you know, that we’re wrong. And that’s, that’s a great first step but the fact is, you know, when we got off the phone, I knew that we were united, and we’re going to be working towards the same common goal. So I’m really really appreciative to Romain.
“And that’s really what it’s going to take all of us to do, you know, to really kind of open up our minds, don’t put up barriers up, don’t don’t get, be defensive. Be open-minded and acknowledging that there is an issue, obviously, it’s sometimes the first step and then how can we work towards making it better.
“At the last race, I said that I was going to speak to speak to the heads of the sport and try to engage with them and see how we can move forwards more united and better. I spent time talking to Alex, spoke to Jean Todt, so we were all united at the GPDA. Also spent time speaking to Chase and Ross, had really great conversations with them to understand what they’re planning and what they want to do moving forwards and just make sure they know that we were on the same team here.
“And things like giving us that little bit extra time for example at the beginning before the race. So that we can really show how united we are as a sport because other sports have done a better job that made consistently doing that. So they’ve been really open minded. And I do think that it needs to continue through the through the year.
“And so I believe, at the moment, that’s what we’re going to continue to do. I think there’s been some pushback from some teams maybe, but again, it’s a work in progress to get us all together, and I think it’s going in the right direction.”
As Grosjean mentioned above, there are drivers who are not keen to show the symbol as Hamilton insists, which includes Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Charles Leclerc, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz – and it looks like it will remain the same.
Here’s some of the others who spoke to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, AMuS, Reuters and more:
Raikkonen: “I think everybody obviously has their own rights to do how they feel. Obviously we are all against the racism and we hundred percent support. But in the end we are here for the sport. Yes, we do the best that we can at same time to help in the situation, but I don’t think we need to explain why we don’t take the knee or why somebody takes. It’s our personal choice and that’s how it’s going to be.
As for demonstrations, obviously it’s not our decision. And I’m happy to do whatever, whatever has been decided. So no issues with anything. With regards to talk with Hamilton, I haven’t talked to him so far. Even if I would, I wouldn’t be here telling. I mean I think whatever happens between any people, I have zero interest to tell them in the news, because it is nothing to do with the news, or in the papers.
“It’s us discussing whatever is going to be. Even when it’s with Antonio. If we are discussing our things I have no interest to comment in here or in any other media things. So we’ll see. I mean obviously Hamilton has been vocal on certain things. And it’s fine. I have no issues with that. I will not even get involved in those discussions because I can feel what is trying to be done. I mean we’ve always been complained that what we are doing or the way how we’ve been asked, that you don’t do this or you don’t do that.
“But then it’s easy to say. We don’t see what the media is doing . Like you can always say: you don’t knee or you stand, and almost like pointing us out. But what is this people doing that they are kind of questioning our positions. I would like to know that. I think not much else to say really.”
Sainz: “I respect Hamilton a lot and the fact that the way he has approached the situation and how much he has managed to put in everyone’s minds the anti-racism message, I think it means all the drivers and all the paddock respects him for that. I said many times I haven’t lived with racism myself or in any kind of situation and maybe he is the one who has lived it more closely and that is what makes him more engaged in this matter.
“So personally I have full admiration for Lewis and I have told him he has my full support for whatever he needs in the fight against racism but that doesn’t mean taking or not the knee, I think that is completely different thing from the fight against racism itself.”
Leclerc: “I don’t think anyone should be forced to fight in a particular way and to be against racism in a particular way. I am definitely against racism and I think we are all united against that. Whether to take the knee or not I have already made my point so I will stay where I am at. But I definitely think that we shall keep fighting against that because it is not an issue solved overnight and it is a very important issue all over the world which is pretty crazy to be honest to still have this kind of inequality all over the world in 2020. I believe it is good that we shall continue to fight that but as I said we shouldn’t be judged but the way we are against racism.”
Sebastian Vettel: “F1 is a worldwide sport and we as individuals are part of that sport. I think our main reason for being here is to perform but I think we cannot ignore what is happening outside of our racing bubble. I think the fight against racism around the world that has taken off again in the last couple of weeks and months I think is completely justified because as Charles said this is not fought or dealt with overnight.
“I think this is an ongoing process and I think it needs all of us, not just us racing, I think all of us around the world as human beings to stand up and to try to go against racism, inequality, injustice in any form. Therefore I think it is right to try to send the right signs to inspire people because in the end I guess, I believe, education is the only way out of it because it is insanity if you think in 2020 with all the knowledge that we have of the past and all the lessons we’ve learned from the past that it is still something that does exist.
“It should be out of the question but it is not so therefore I believe it is important to stand up when we have the chance publicly to send a message but more so even when the cameras are off and when we are living our everyday lives and setting the right examples and trying to behave in the way that is right.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I think after the first race, it was then discussed between us drivers as well okay well, what do we do moving forward? And yeah some where in the mindset of okay well I’ve done it so why do we need to keep doing it? I showed this support and that’s it. But I think that’s just a bit of education and I am not going to sit here and say I know more than everyone else about the topic because I don’t. But I feel that.
“It was then time to open up the conversation and say well, these are the reasons why you know doing it once is is not really doing enough, and it’s not like if someone passes and you wear a black armband, that makes sense okay and you acknowledge it on that moment and it’s not like you have to do it for the next year or something. But this is a cause that is ongoing, and still very I think fresh for a lot of people in a lot of parts of the world and I think we need to continue honing in on it.
“And, making people aware of it. So I think that’s why just doing it once is is not enough and you know it’s…I also feel it’s, you know, especially because these issues are ongoing you know if you just do it once, how much do you really mean it? You know I think you really have to continue showing your support and your willingness to do something and make a change.”
Here’s Lewis Hamilton featuring/singing in Christina Augilera song
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