Alonso denies blame for Hamilton crash

Today’s Bahrain Grand Prix saw the latest development in the Lewis Hamilton-Fernando Alonso rivalry. Hamilton hit the back of Alonso’s Renault causing the McLaren driver to lose his front wing.

Alonso denied he was responsible, saying: “The McLaren was just a lot faster than my car and he crashed into me.” Hamilton has not yet commented on the incident – but Alonso’s defensive driving has been criticised for causing accidents in the past.

David Coulthard blamed Alonso for causing this crash in the 2003 European Grand Prix:

Coulthard claimed Alonso had deliberately braked early for the corner to force him to take avoiding action and go off. Did Alonso do something similar today – perhaps easing off the throttle to cause Hamilton to make a mistake? Or did Hamilton just misjudge how much quicker he was?

Whatever happened it’s likely to inflame the unpopularity of Hamilton in Spain with the Spanish Grand Prix the next stop on the calendar.

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122 comments on Alonso denies blame for Hamilton crash

  1. "It’s an interesting situation for those of us on the pit wall, because you see an incident such as that and have to respond in terms of pulling him in, getting the car repaired, looking at fuel load options that might help him recover and so on. At the time we didn’t actually know how it all unfolded, however. People come up immediately after the race and ask, "So, was he brake-tested?" and you can’t answer. It is assumed that you are being evasive, but in truth you simply don’t know. It was only when I went into the engineers’ room and started looking at the details that I REALISED LEWIS’S UPPER FRONT WING HAD DISAPPEARED ABOUT TWO SECONDS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT, SO HE SUDDENLY LOST DOWNFORCE. WE HAVEN’T ANALYSED WHY THAT HAPPENED BUT WE SUSPECT THE STRUCTURE HAD BEEN WEAKENED BY PREVIOUS CONTACT. To be fair to Lewis it could have broken of its own accord, but that has never happened before so contact is the most likely cause. There’s certainly no evidence that Fernando did anything wrong. The impact damaged other elements of Lewis’s car apart from the wing – he just had to cope as best he could."- Martin Whitmarsh –

  2. ninguen said on 7th April 2008, 16:50

    Check this video, it shows when that part of the front wing of lewis was lost, in the start, so i think it  wouldn´t interfere in the crash, Hamilton ran one lap  without it and no problems (1:20 minutes)

    Also,  somebody realised that the  two  cars with more problems on the oil from vettel were the  two renaults Piquet spun completeley and alonso lost  the position with webber and almost with hamilton without the front wing. A mere coincidence?

  3. Ninguén, Good video! What could happened is that Lewis could ran a CLEAN lap with Fernando keeping a clear area air from his McLaren, but when he putted his car in Renault´s  vacuum, was the moment that lost downforce and without this front wing piece he can lost it even more…  

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th April 2008, 19:15

    KB, No I’m not a Hamilton fan. However I do think that of the drivers he gets a lot of undeserved flak, which is something I may write an article about later.

    Michael K, I don’t know about your comment can you perhaps get in touch with me via the contact form with any relevant details. It may simply have been eaten by the spam filter. If it violated the comment policy it may have been deleted for that.

    Although I reserve the right to delete comments on whatever grounds I see fit I have never deleted a comment simply because I disagreed with it. I’m really saddened to see someone who has contributed to this site on many occasions suggest I would do that.

    Can I remind everyone else that if they have any complaint about a comment to approach me via the contact form.

  5. Jaime said on 7th April 2008, 22:00

    Keith, if it serves as a good comparision, i think there is more fact to say you are more leaned towards Hamilton favoritism and bias on these Alonso-Hamilton discussions than the fact there is for Alonso doing any kind of unfair maneuver on the race, no offense intended.
    I think that on races there are a lot of "jump into the back" incidents and that this one is no different; apart from the actors and the press interest to bring this discussion in.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th April 2008, 22:45

    Sorry Jaime I don’t understand any of that.

  7. Phil B said on 7th April 2008, 23:20

    I’d be interested in that Hamilton article Keith, I think there are quite a few intriguing aspects to the whole thing.  I struggle to understand the ill-feeling he’s created.  I currently live in the US so (mercifully) escape what I hear are James Allen’s inane Hamilton worship statements but I remember what he was like with Schumacher so can understand if that might be a factor in peoples resentment towards Hamilton.  Other than being blindingly quick and self assured (who wouldn’t be after a start like his?) I can’t understand what anyone might have against him.  Obviously being Spanish might give me a different viewpoint on this, certainly your Alonso contingent seem to have made their mind up about who is at fault in that (non) relationship.  Most interesting though is that he has engendered such hatred from some British F1 fans.  I’m hoping it’s not a race issue and I don’t think it is.  Looking back though Hill, Mansell and Hunt never created this sort of ill-feeling.  I think that’s because they were always underdogs, whereas Hamilton is just plainly a fast driver, rather than skin colour.  We finally have our Schumacher, Tiger Woods, Carl Lewis etc and it perhaps doesn’t sit well with the Brits.

    It may be that the British F1 fan base likes its drivers to have a few flaws and be forced to battle their way to the championships, Hamilton just found F1 a bit easy and that upsets them.

    A question occurred to me the other day.  We know that all champions eventually face the young upstart who challenges and goes on to defeat them.  Senna had his Schumacher and Schumacher in his turn had his Alonso and so it goes.  There’s usually a large age difference though and we get to see a fascinating battle between experience and race craft versus sheer speed and driving ability.  Not this time though, they were both in their prime.  Has there been a previous example in F1 where a driver has gone from such a high (back to back world championships, clearly at the top of the tree) to being beaten by such an upstart (first year rookie driver)?  And has it happened when the reigning champion is still at the height of his powers, as Alonso is, rather than at the twilight of their career like, arguably, Senna and Schumacher were? 

    I couldn’t think of an example but I only really started watching F1 in the mid 90s…….

  8. Mark said on 7th April 2008, 23:54

    Phil that is a wonderful question. I would suggest that Alain Prost was at the peak of his powers when Senna took him on.  And that is just for starters, what about maybe Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi. By the way, you are right about the TV coverage. I would be a fan of Hamilton if he wasn’t rammed in my face every two minutes as the golden child and ‘the one most worthy’.

  9. Phil B said on 8th April 2008, 0:28

    I thought about Prost and Senna and it’s definitely arguable but I discounted that as an example because Prost (still on zero world championships by then) wasn’t established when Senna arrived in F1 (1984) in the way that Alonso (with two world championships) was when Hamilton arrived.  Plus they weren’t really battling each other straight away were they?  I just checked and it seems that Senna didn’t finish better than 3rd in the championship until he won it four years later in 1988.

    Stewart and Fittipaldi, yeah I think you might be right.  It took Fittipaldi a few seasons to place higher, rather than as a rookie  like Hamilton, but he did do it when Stewart was clearly still at the top of his game.  So that one is definitely close.

    TV: I don’t envy you.  Apart from the fact that the Speed TV commentator  (The Brit, David something) is an idiot and sounds like one half of Smashie and Nicey I’ve been reasonably happy with their Allen-free coverage.  I’ll be back in the UK for the 2009 season so was glad to hear the BBC were picking it up but was disappointed to read that they aren’t taking Brundle.  I’ve really liked some of his commentary.

  10. Fernando Alonso Fan said on 8th April 2008, 8:45

    Hamilton´s fault, must be penalised…., thanks

  11. Daniel said on 8th April 2008, 16:22

    Alonso, 100% throttle…. thats all im going to say..

  12. Scott Joslin said on 8th April 2008, 17:10

    Guys, if you go onto and watch the video montage of the race, it shows some interesting footage of Lewis damaging his wing on the first lap. First of all he runs in to the back of alonso at turn 4 on Lap 1, then accelerating away from there you see the top plane of the wing fly up off the car. This could support the argument that when Lewis was in Fernando’s slip stream  leading up to the incident, that the Mclaren had ultimately less drag than the Renault and lead to the bigger than normal difference in speed on the straight.

  13. Scott Joslin said on 8th April 2008, 17:12

    Still…. Lewis has eyes though and should have seen he was about to mount another car….!

  14. At least Lews tried to create a two brand new ways of how to overtake in Formula 1. First he tried THROUGH Alonso and after OVER Alonso… GO LEWIS, GO!

  15. ninguen said on 9th April 2008, 11:32

    here it is an animated gif of the first touch between them
    Now i´m beguinning to think hamilton should be penalised, once it could be a race incident, twice it´s a recurring incident you didn´t want to manage with, if he doesn´t know how to steer away from a car in front of you, or brake before having an accident he shouldn´t be in f-1, I think a 5 grid penalty would meake him think twice next time

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