SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — Lotus driver Romain Grosjean took the time to say sorry in person to British driver Will Stevens on Thursday after crashing into him at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman apologized to Stevens, who is driving for the struggling Manor Marussia team, ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
“I went to apologize because I messed up,” the Frenchman said.
The incident happened when Grosjean lapped Stevens 20 laps from the end in Montreal two weeks ago, causing some damage to Stevens’ car.
“I broke his front wing as well,” Grosjean said. “Even though they are fighting at the back, they are still trying to do their best so it wasn’t very nice of me to turn into him.”
Grosjean, who finished the race in 10th spot, was given a five-second time penalty, while Stevens finished in 17th.
“It was just a failure of concentration. That corner is a very tricky corner, a chicane with the wall at the exit, and I was just focusing on the apex and didn’t even realize I was turning left,” Grosjean said. “When I saw the replay I thought ‘That was bad.’”
Stevens, who is racing in his first full season after driving once for Caterham in last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, appreciated Grosjean’s gesture.
“I respect him for that a lot and we can move on and forget about it,” Stevens said. “He obviously thought I was more out of the way than I was, but I was as far over as I could possibly get.”
The incident was a role reversal for Grosjean, who was unhappy with teenage driver Max Verstappen for not apologizing after crashing into him during last month’s Monaco GP.
The 17-year-old Verstappen, one of the most exciting prospects in F1, blamed Grosjean for the incident, saying he deliberately broke too late.
The Toro Rosso driver’s apparently careless driving, and his subsequent lack of an apology, drew some criticism from Grosjean and other F1 drivers.
“We are 20 people in the world doing Formula One and I think respect is one of the biggest things in this sport,” said Grosjean, who is ninth in the F1 standings with 17 points. “It’s something you learn and try not to do again.”
Manor Marussia has not scored a point yet so far this season.