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Grosjean issues apology to Hamilton, but accused of being a racist on social media

Grosjean issues apology to Hamilton, but accused of being a racist on social media

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Grosjean issues apology to Hamilton, but accused of being a racist on social media

Grosjean issues apology to Hamilton, but accused of being a racist on social media

Romain Grosjean has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for the mixed messaging that emerged following the anti-racism stance taken ahead of the last grand prix in Hungary.

Grosjean, however, has also revealed he has been the subject of abuse on social media and accusations of him being a racist following Hamilton's comments as the six-time Formula 1 champion had pointed an accusing finger at the Haas driver following the race at the Hungaroring.

Hamilton stated that Grosjean was "one of them that thinks it [staging a protest] was done once and that’s all we need to do". It led to Grosjean and Hamilton holding a 45-minute phone call on the Tuesday following the race.

Grosjean explained to Hamilton that as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, he was speaking on behalf of those drivers who felt the stance taken at the season-opening race in Austria was enough.

Grosjean said: "It was a really good chat about many things, Formula One in general, but obviously the subject was 'End racism'.

"I explained to Lewis that maybe I did it wrong, maybe I did it right. I don't know. It felt right at the time that we [him and Sebastian Vettel] are two directors in the GPDA and we had, I would say, seven or eight drivers that were not happy to carry on the ceremony, as it was done, in race one in Austria.

"I said to Lewis that maybe I did it wrong, but I felt that as one of the directors, okay, Sebastian was pushing in the direction of carrying on with 'End racism', which is the right approach, [but] I was speaking for the drivers that were not happy to carry on, to express their voice as a director of the GPDA.

"Now thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do, and Lewis put some good arguments, I did, too. But I think it was the wrong thing to do.

"It was a good chat with Lewis. I said sorry, that maybe I did it the wrong way but I felt I had to do what I had to do at the time because at the GPDA we work on a majority vote system, and I felt that as one of the directors listening to the guys not happy to carry on, then I wasn't doing my duty.

"But also he mentioned that as one of the directors they are listening to you, and that was his point, and I think he was right in that aspect. It was a really good phone call."

The outcome was that Grosjean, along with GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz, spoke with F1 CEO Chase Carey and FIA president Jean Todt via a conference call to clarify what position should be taken going forward.

"It's hard for us as drivers to organise things over an event because we've many things to look at," added Grosjean.

"So we wanted more guidance from Liberty, a clear procedure as we had for Austria, race one, and I think that's going to happen and be more clear for all of us on what to do."

The flipside for Grosjean is that Hamilton's remarks led to him distressingly being accused as a racist.

"I said I wasn't very happy that on my social media I had a lot of things about racism, that I'm racist or whatever, which is absolutely wrong," said Grosjean. "I don't think you will find anyone in the world [who would say] that I did something wrong in that aspect.

'So I wasn't very happy about being treated like that. I was one of the first to push through and support that we take the knee.

"I'm still really hopeful that one day we will get 20 drivers to take the knee on the grid, that it will happen at one point.

"We need to keep pushing the guys, tell them that it's a sportsman's gesture and a way to support a cause on something that shouldn't exist."

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Sun 02 Aug

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