Formula 1


Romain Grosjean sparks debate about Lewis Hamilton's celebrations

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Lewis Hamiton took a giant step towards glory after he won the Japanese Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel had to retire.

It leaves the Brit 59 points ahead of his nearest challenger with just four races remaining.

If Hamilton wins the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and Vettel is lower than fourth, he will clinch the World Championship.

Simply put, his victory in Japan was massive and you couldn’t blame him for his celebrations. And he’s had plenty of celebrate recently with four wins and a second place in the last five races since Formula 1 returned from its summer break.

"Is it a purple patch? A golden patch maybe. It's definitely been a great second half of the season. An incredible performance from the team,” he said afterward.

Hamilton added that his advantage was "kind of unbelievable, really. I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap. Ferrari have put on such a great challenge all season long. My team have done a great job. They are so meticulous and that is why we have the reliability we are having."

But one man isn’t too happy with Hamilton’s celebrations - Romain Grosjean.

After the chequered flag in Malaysia last week, Hamilton took off his seatbelt to celebrate finishing second.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia

And it was something that Grosjean, Grand Prix Drivers' Association director, raised during the Japanese Grand Prix Formula 1 drivers' briefing.

Grosjean on Hamilton's celebrations

In a conversation with FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting, Grosjean sparked a debate.

Here is the transcript, per

Grosjean: "After the chequered flag are we allowed to undo the belts?"

Whiting: "No. Any further?"

Grosjean: "Well I think Lewis has been doing it quite a lot."

Whiting: "Loosening them is reasonable, rather than taking them off completely."

Grosjean: "I'm just asking, I think it's great for the fans, but I wanted to mention it."


Whiting: "At the speeds Lewis was driving at, I think that's a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Loosen them, not undo them."

Felipe Massa: "But you cannot loosen them. It's very difficult, you need to take it off."

Whiting: "I was asked a question and I said, no, you should not undo them, but if you can loosen them off, I don't see a big issue with that. Lewis, what do you do, do you loosen them or undo them?"

Hamilton: "Undo them. I don't do it very often. Montreal I did, a few other races."

Whiting: "You might have started something here Romain..."

Grosjean: "I think it's great for the fans to see a bit more of the driver. But I just wanted to get a clarification."

Hamilton: "Why would you need clarification on it?"

Grosjean: "Because sometimes you don't put the steering wheel back on and you can get a fine, and it doesn't make sense if the wheels are completely off of the car. So I just wanted to know."


Hamilton: "Interesting."

Whiting: "We can clarify it if you really think it's worth it..."

Hamilton: "We're driving so slowly, man. But, I mean, maybe Sebastian should keep his on."

Sebastian Vettel: "Steering wheel or belts? I'm confused now."

Whiting: "That is something we've seen happen, isn't it [referring to Vettel's Sepang crash with Lance Stroll]? Needn't have but it did and something similar could happen."

Grosjean: "I don't want to start an argument or whatever, I just want to know the rules, simple as that."


Whiting: "Well I don't think you should undo your belts. I think we've see what can happen on a slowing-down lap, so I think it's a very bad practice to undo your belts."

Hamilton: "I've only done it when I win to wave to fans."

Whiting: "I understand, yes."

Hamilton: "But I do slow down massively."

Don't expect to see Hamilton taking off his seatbelt the next time he wins a race...

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