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Grosjean: Mexican GP qualifying ‘the worst of my career’

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Romain Grosjean has called on the Haas Formula 1 team to get to the root of its struggles after suffering what he deemed to be one of the worst qualifying sessions of his career in Mexico on Saturday.

Grosjean qualified 21st at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, finishing only ahead of Jolyon Palmer who took no part in the session after damaging his chassis in practice.

Haas has encountered a number of issues through its debut F1 season, with Grosjean making his frustration over this weekend’s setback clear.

“Starting last on the grid I think never happened to me before,” Grosjean told NBCSN.

“Probably the worst qualifying of my career. We just need to understand why it’s happening because clearly something is not right.

“The car is nowhere. I don’t know what’s happening. It was good in FP1, it was alright in the first run this morning, and after that the car has just been nowhere.

“We need to try to analyze it, because something clearly is not right. It’s enough doing miracles on Sunday [Grosjean finished 10th in Austin]. I think now we really need to understand what we are missing.

“Because last on the grid just really is not acceptable for us.”

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his new F1 operation onto the grid for 2016, with Grosjean scoring points in its first two races.

However, the Frenchman has recorded just two top-10 finishes in the last 14 races, while teammate Esteban Gutierrez is yet to score a point.

Gutierrez was also knocked out in Q1 in Mexico, finishing 17th after a spin on his final qualifying effort that also compromised Grosjean.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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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).