September 18, 2021

Hamilton ‘so encouraged’ by F1, Grosjean talks

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Hamilton reveals calls with Wurz, Grosjean, Todt, Carey and Brawn after Hungarian GP; Pre-race anti-racism display in F1 schedule for this weekend’s British GP; Hamilton praises Grosjean for comments

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 30/07/20 8:19pm

5:34
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton believes Silverstone won’t be the same without fans at the British Grand Prix this weekend, and opens up about anti-racism talks.

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton believes Silverstone won’t be the same without fans at the British Grand Prix this weekend, and opens up about anti-racism talks.

Lewis Hamilton says he has been “so encouraged” by talks with Formula 1 bosses and drivers since criticising the sport’s leadership and unity in the fight against racism, and believes there will be pre-race gestures of support throughout the 2020 season.

A passionate Hamilton voiced his displeasure about F1’s anti-racism demonstrations at the Hungarian GP, which was the second successive race where no display was organised in the schedule, with many drivers failing to make it to a “rushed” gathering in time.

The six-time world champion – comparing F1’s efforts to other sports’ united taking of the knee and show of support – called the Hungary scenes “embarrassing”, said the sport “lacked leadership”, and that he would be contacting various personnel to address the issues.

Speaking ahead of the British GP, Hamilton revealed he has had “really good conversations” with GPDA chairman Alex Wurz, GPDA director and Haas driver Romain Grosjean – who Hamilton criticised in Budapest – FIA president Jean Todt, as well as F1 chiefs Chase Carey and Ross Brawn.

British GP on Sky F1: Schedule and how to watch

Watch the British GP, the first of two consecutive races at the famous circuit, live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday.

Hamilton believes F1 will now be “united”, and a pre-race anti-racism display has been organised for this weekend’s British GP – although not all drivers are expected to kneel.

“Honestly, I was so encouraged,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 about his talks.

“[I was] really just reiterating that we are actually in this together and we’ve got to work together. So let’s do that, let’s communicate better. So much is going on and sometimes communication is the issue.

“[We’ve got to] continue to educate each other and help each other so we can understand.”

3:22
Haas driver Romain Grosjean says he has had positive talks with Lewis Hamilton and resolved their differences regarding the drivers’ anti-racism protests.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean says he has had positive talks with Lewis Hamilton and resolved their differences regarding the drivers’ anti-racism protests.

Hamilton ‘impressed’ with Grosjean

Hamilton was speaking after Grosjean explained that the two drivers had cleared the air, after Hamilton said in Hungary that Grosjean didn’t want to continue the anti-racism demonstrations.

Grosjean insisted he only said that to provide a voice for other drivers as a GPDA director, and that he was probably “wrong”.

“I’ve heard Romain’s really positive comments already today and we’ll be working in this battle together,” said Hamilton. “I see really positive steps forward but it’s going to take work, we still have to continue to stay on it.”

He expanded in the press conference: “I was already impressed with our conversation afterwards and his approach to our conversation. He originally reached out to me to talk after the last race and we had a great conversation.

1:57
Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater explains that discussions are ongoing between the F1 drivers about how to spread the anti-racism message.

Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater explains that discussions are ongoing between the F1 drivers about how to spread the anti-racism message.

“Ultimately it was quite informative for both of us and we learnt that we have more in common than we perhaps think. He’s clearly a caring person.

“To hear that he’s said that [he was wrong], it’s not easy for anybody to admit that. That’s a great first step.

“The fact is that when we got off the phone I knew we were united and we’re going to be working towards the same common goal. That’s what all of us have got to do. Open up our minds. Don’t put our barriers up and be defensive.

“Acknowledging there’s an issue is sometimes the first step and then how can we work towards making it better.”

2:51
Sky F1’s Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle look ahead to this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Sky F1’s Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle look ahead to this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

What will F1 do moving forward?

Hamilton also said that much of his conversations focused on what F1 is going to do in the fight against inequality moving forwards, after claiming following the last race that the sport hadn’t “made any progress” – although F1 say increasing diversity and inclusion is a “clear priority”.

Hamilton believes there will be pre-race demonstrations throughout a condensed 2020 season.

“I’ve spent time speaking to Alex, I spoke to Jean, so we’re all united,” Hamilton stated. “I spoke 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 to make sure that they know we’re all on the same team here.

“Things like giving us a bit of extra time at the beginning of the race so we can show how united we are as a sport, because other sports have done a better job of consistently doing that.

“They’ve been really open-minded and I do think that it needs to continue through the year. 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.”

Next stop for Formula 1: Silverstone! Watch the British GP, the first of two consecutive races at the famous circuit, live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday.