Grosjean annoyed by Monaco crash accusations

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Romain Grosjean has admitted that he felt annoyed by the accusations following the crash between himself and Max Verstappen during last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, believing it to be evident that he was blameless in the incident.

During the closing stages of the race, Verstappen crashed into the back of Grosjean and flew into the barrier at Sainte Devote, sparking a safety car period that ultimately cost Lewis Hamilton victory.

Although the Dutchman was unhurt, he was deemed by the stewards to have caused the accident and handed a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen reacted to this by claiming that Grosjean had caused the accident by brake-testing him, only for Lotus to prove via the data on the Frenchman’s car that he had in fact braked later than the previous lap.

Speaking ahead of the race in Montreal next weekend, Grosjean rejected the idea that he had brake-tested Verstappen and admitted that the suggestion that he had caused the crash was annoying.

“Of course not, what would that possibly achieve?” Grosjean said when asked if he had brake-tested Verstappen.

“In Monaco it’s pretty easy to keep a car behind you, even a car that’s faster than you, by placing your car on the racing line and just focusing on driving your laps. The difficult bit is for the guy trying to get past.

“I didn’t brake early or lift off the throttle earlier on the lap which Verstappen hit me, in fact the data showed I braked five metres later than the lap before!

“The FIA are pretty thorough in their investigations and I don’t know which annoyed me more: being hit and knocked out of the points, or having to go through the inquiry afterwards for something that was clearly not my fault.

“Ultimately, Max caught himself out by driving too aggressively on the wrong circuit to attempt a move like he did and we both felt the consequences. He’ll learn; he’s a very talented driver.”

Grosjean ultimately finished the race down in 11th place as a result of the incident, but remained upbeat thanks to the performance of the E23 Hybrid car.

“Despite not finishing in the points, there are quite a few positives from Monaco,” Grosjean said. “The circuit itself is a good test of how a car behaves in low-speed corners, and the E23 worked well.

“We also were able to employ a good strategy to get back into a point-scoring position after the gearbox penalty meant we started pretty far back on the grid. We also showed that the E23 has pretty strong rear suspension, even when attacked by another car.”

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.

The idea of Hamilton attending the 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 only would be fitting if 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 — spent 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).