Lotus chief unconcerned by Grosjean’s Singapore rage

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Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has no concerns about Romain Grosjean’s outburst during qualifying for last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, saying that emotion simply got the better of the Frenchman in the heat of the moment.

During qualifying at Marina Bay, Grosjean found himself struggling for power due to an engine glitch, leaving him at the bottom of the timesheets in Q2 and down in 16th place on the grid.

The Frenchman made no secret of his distaste, complaining over the radio how “we break our balls to make a good qualifying and you lose five-tenths every single straight line because the thing cuts”. You can read the radio transcript here.

In the race on Sunday, both Grosjean and teammate Pastor Maldonado managed to improve, flirting with the top ten before finishing in 12th and 13th position at the flag.

For Gastaldi, this outburst is nothing to be concerned about as the team looks for the positives in what has been a difficult year at Enstone.

“Well, in the heat of the moment passions can boil over,” Gastaldi said. “Sometimes they can do so when things are not going your way and this is exactly what happened. After all, sometimes people say the drivers are too boring or don’t have opinions or show their human side.

“It happens sometimes under extreme circumstances and this is what happened last Saturday. We were all tremendously disappointed but of course Romain was the one who got hit by the disappointment first and he reacted.

“Sometimes it is difficult to stop human emotion coming to the surface. It was quite ironic that radio communications was the hot topic in Singapore for the things that were not meant to be said and then they become the headlines for something else that is said under difficult circumstances!”

After a difficult run of races, Gastaldi was happy with how the team performed in Singapore, and feels that points may be possible in the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend.

“Singapore showed we could be in the hunt for points on merit,” he said. “It was satisfying to get a second consecutive double finish of course, but ultimately we want points. I am sure we will get more chances and we just need that final push to ensure we capitalize on these positive situations.

“For Suzuka we’re pushing to get back in to the top ten. For sure, the team’s efforts deserve this reward and we are doing everything we can to get back there.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).