(Miami) Dozens of people gathered outside the Mercedes team garage a few hours before Sunday’s race.

“It’s probably Lewis Hamilton,” I thought to myself before slipping past a few people spellbound by what was unfolding before their eyes. Then I finally understood: the legend Roger Federer was there.

Federer spent a few minutes in the garage before coming out, accompanied by his children and his wife Mirka. I approached to try to challenge him, between the multiple cameras that followed him and the cries that were coming from everywhere. In the kindness that we know him, the new retiree took a few seconds for La Presse.

First, for those wondering, retirement is going “very well,” he enthused. ” I’m so happy ! [Retirement] gives me the opportunity to do things like today is great! »

Let’s just say he wasn’t the only one happy at Miami International Autodrome. Unsurprisingly, the news of the presence of the greatest tennis player in history spread like wildfire in the paddock and on social networks.

Before he disappeared again in garages, we could not help but talk to him about Quebecer Félix Auger-Aliassime. The ex-tennis player did not hesitate to throw flowers at his former training partner.

“He’s a good buddy of mine,” he hinted. […] I always like to watch him play. I had the chance to play against him too. I wish her nothing but the best,” he blurted out before walking away with a smile.

This is the kind of encounters that we have in a Grand Prix, between actors, musicians and sportsmen of all kinds.

Moreover, about thirty minutes earlier, during a visit to the headquarters of the Haas team, I came across Romain Grosjean, now a resident of Miami. After a long discussion with Kevin Magnussen, the Frenchman granted me a few minutes. He first highlighted the efforts that have been made to offer a good event here in Miami.

Almost three years have passed since Grosjean’s spectacular accident in Bahrain in November 2020, where he literally came close to death. All Formula 1 fans will remember this. His single-seater crashed into a safety barrier at 220 km/h and was cut in half. About 28 seconds later, the French driver managed to miraculously extricate himself from the car. The roll bar had saved his life. He has scars on his hands, which can be seen by shaking his grip.

Grosjean told his story in his book La mort en face published in March 2022. His accident happened three races before the end of his Formula 1 career; since 2021, he has been racing in IndyCar. Even though he is attending the Miami Grand Prix this weekend, the Frenchman assures that he does not miss F1.

“I’m super happy in IndyCar, he assures us. Every weekend I have the chance to win the race and that’s something I really appreciate. »

And when he finds himself behind the wheel of his racing car, the pilot does not think of the accident. “Afterwards, of course it’s part of my history and my career, but if I thought about the accident, I would have stopped,” he said. Today, it is part of me, but there is nothing blocking me from that.

“I just tell myself that I have the chance to continue doing what I love. It’s the passion. »