Romain Grosjean insists he has “huge respect” for Lewis Hamilton despite previous disagreements between the pair.
The Frenchman was one of Hamilton’s regular rivals on the F1 grid during the 2010s and the pair didn’t always see eye to eye. One issue revolved around Hamilton's plea for the drivers to ‘take a knee’ before races in 2020 as part of the fight against racial injustice. Grosjean was an influential figure at the time as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.
“[Grosjean] doesn't think it's important to do it,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 at the time. “[Grosjean is] one of them that thinks that it was done once and that's all we need to do. I tried to speak to [Grosjean] about what the problem is and it's not going away."
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The pair have also clashed since Grosjean left F1 at the end of 2020. Following qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix last year, Grosjean accused Mercedes of deliberately having slow out-laps at the end of Q3 in a bid to scupper the final runs of title rivals Red Bull.
“If that was made on purpose, it’s not pretty,” tweeted Grosjean. Hamilton hit back by posting: “I don’t make any tactical plays. We have the fastest car. Those who give comments like that have no idea what’s going on. Which also explains why they are not here.”
Grosjean, who now races in IndyCar, addressed his relationship with Hamilton during a Q&A on his YouTube page based on Google searches. One of the questions regularly searched for is ‘does Romain Grosjean like Lewis Hamilton?’.
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“Well, yes, [I have] huge respect [for him],” said the former Renault and Haas driver. “He’s one of the best drivers ever. He’s been an incredible seven-time world champion, fighting Max [Verstappen] in 2021 in a really strong way with not the best car. In 2022, it’s been more of a struggle early in the year before bouncing back.
“I don’t know Lewis out of the racetrack, we never had dinner or meet or anything, but at the racetrack, huge respect. I like the way he drives, I like the way he gives it his all, all the time in a very good manner. So yes, I do like Lewis Hamilton.”
Grosjean also confirmed he still intends to test a Mercedes F1 car from 2019 or 2020. He was offered the test by Toto Wolff in the wake of his fiery crash in Bahrain in 2020, which proved to be his final race in F1.
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