Romain Grosjean says he and Lewis Hamilton held a 45-minute phone call after Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix, in response to the anti-racism protest in Hungary.
Formula 1 has launched its #WeRaceAsOne initiative and has also had End Racism displays in Austria and Hungary.
But the pre-race process in Hungary was rushed, with several drivers not making it to the ceremony on time, prompting Hamilton to speak out after the race.
Hamilton suggested that Grosjean was against the procedure, including taking a knee, and called on Formula 1 and the FIA to be more organised.
Grosjean, as a Director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, explained his stance, and why he felt a duty to the drivers who were reluctant to repeat the pre-race procedure that took place in Austria.
“I explained to Lewis that maybe I did it wrong, maybe I did it right, I don’t know,” said Grosjean.
“It felt right at the time, we are two directors at the GPDA [alongside Sebastian Vettel] and we had I’d say seven or eight drivers that were not happy to carry on this ceremony as it was done, the procedure, Race 1 in Austria.
“I said [to] Lewis look maybe I did it wrong but I felt that as one of the directors, Sebastian was pushing in the direction of carrying on [the] end racism [stance], which is the right approach, I was speaking for the drivers that were not happy to carry on, to express their voices, as a director of the GPDA.
“Thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do, Lewis had some good arguments, I did also, but I think it was the wrong thing to do.
“As the GPDA we work on a majority vote and I felt if I wasn’t listening to the guys not happy to carry on I wasn’t doing my duties, but he mentioned that as one of the directors ‘they listen to you’ and that was his point and I think he was right in that aspect.”
Grosjean also revealed that he received abuse on social media accusing him of being racist, in the wake of Hamilton’s comments in Hungary.
“I wasn’t happy that in the media, in my social media, [there were a] lot of things about racism and I’m a racist, which is absolutely wrong,” he said.
“I don’t think you’ll find anyone in the world saying I’m a racist or did something wrong, so I wasn’t very happy about being treated that way.
“I was one of the first to push for taking the knee, I’m still hopeful we get 20 drivers to take the knee on the grid and that it will happen, but we need to keep the education, pushing the guys, and telling them it’s a sportsman gesture and we have to support a cause for something that shouldn’t exist.”