Fernando Alonso takes a swipe at Lewis Hamilton over driving errors

Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, 2007, 470150

These days interviews with drivers tend to be the same recycled PR platitudes over and over. ‘The team did a great job’. ‘The car was really good’. ‘We’re looking forward to the next race’. ‘For sure’. It’s unusual to hear one of them slagging off their rivals as Fernando Alonso has with Lewis Hamilton today:

The errors don’t surprise me. The results that were strange were the nine podiums in his first nine races last year – that required some element of luck, and wasn’t all down to the driver. This year is more normal.

What surprises me is not that Alonso has had a go at Hamilton – both of them did plenty of that last year – what’s peculiar is the timing.

OK, it’s a long way from the days when Alan Jones responded to Carlos Reutemann’s urging that the two should “bury the hatchet” with the memorable retort: “Yeah. In your ****ing back, mate.”

But Alonso had plenty to say last year about how he thought McLaren were treating him. And Hamilton said plenty back about Alonso, insisting the team had “bent over backwards” to make him welcome.

As we now know Alonso was considering leaving McLaren as early as March last year, it may have been that the two never got on from the very beginning.

When Alonso left McLaren for Renault everyone wondered whether the rivalry between the two would continue this year but, for the most part, it hasn’t. The Renaults and McLarens have rarely been fighting over the same piece of track.

And even on the one occasion they did collide, at Bahrain when Hamilton went into the back of Alonso, the Renault driver passed up the opportunity to give his old nemesis a public dressing-down. So why take up the cudgels on behalf of Kimi Raikkonen and have a go at Hamilton now?

It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to characterise this as a symptom of Alonso’s growing sense of frustration. He’s stuck in a car that can’t challenge for wins. He’s been at odds with his team over strategy in the last two races where they’re opted for conservatism over taking risks to win. He publicly criticised them after Montreal for not following his choice of tactics which he felt cost them a win.

If he hasn’t got the Ferrari contract for 2010 that many people reckon he has then he faces being stuck with Renault for a while – BMW seem content with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, and he has burned his bridge with the other top three team, McLaren. So he’s lashing out at the man he feels is responsible for his dilemma.

Alternatively, maybe he just couldn’t resist kicking Hamilton when he’s down. And as the two are likely to meet on track at Magny-Cours this weekend as Hamilton tries to recover from his lowly starting position, he’s getting an early start on the mind games.

Either way, expect fireworks if these two happen across each other on Sunday…

More on the Lewis Hamilton-Fernando Alonso rivalry

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44 comments on Fernando Alonso takes a swipe at Lewis Hamilton over driving errors

  1. “for sure”, he has started playing mind games for the next race. Typical of Alonso with Hamilton.

  2. roser said on 18th June 2008, 9:15

    I think Hamilton is a good driver, but I also honestly think that the 9 podiums of Lewis last season were due to Alonso’s settings.
    To compare Alonso and Hamilton this year is impossible. McLaren car is good and the Renault is very difficult to drive: see Piquet results… this is just speculation, but probably with another car he would finish more races.
    By the way, I prefer Alonso saying exactly what he thinks than Hamilton talking about Sena…

  3. Surely this is another indication that Alonso knows that he is moving away from Renault in the near future?
    He commented in another interview that he was still considering his options at Renault for next year, which was either a hurry-up to his agent to get things sorted or a hint that he has already signed for another team.
    I think Alonso is taking a swipe at Hamilton, since he has an opportunity, and if he thinks the Renault may improve enough, and he would certainly be waiting for a chance to wave a Ferrari contract at Ron and Lewis after last year!

  4. Jean said on 18th June 2008, 10:15

    DG , better than Alonso waving a Ferrari contract in Ron’s face , woud be Alonso waving the rear wing of his Renault at the front of Hamilton’s McLaren at the finish line. That’s something I am really looking forward to happen in F1 , hopefully not too far away from now.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th June 2008, 10:20

    Here’s the original interview in Spanish. Can anyone translate any other interesting bits?

  6. Brar Soler said on 18th June 2008, 10:54

    I read it all, Keith. Unfortunately there are no more intersting bits then the already knowed. They say that Bernnie is the responsible for the F1 money (sponsors, Teams, and Fia) in a very repectfully way.

  7. Jean said on 18th June 2008, 12:14

    Keith , basically , he speaks about three main things :
    1. The French / Spanish closeness & relationship and how he would love to do well in France as a result (I guess him being Spanish and the Renault French … makes sense)
    2. Comments about Hamilton , as you say above. I also pick up he is saying this year is more “normal” , relating to loss of TC – ie. more driver input necessary.
    3. The Mosley & Ecclestone matter and possible splitting of the FIA and FOM in future as a result

  8. ninguen said on 18th June 2008, 12:23

    Hamilton can´t say to have been talking slow these days, “nothing can stop us now, we have the better car by far”, “the rule of the red light is stupid” “I´m betting for a win in france” And i don´t think Alonso is talking nothing so amazing, every noob in the category makes some mistakes, so is extrange a a noob like hamilton fared so well from the beguinnig.

    I´ve looked at the interview and doesn´t says anything special. i´ll post some bits. Be sweet with my translation please.

    “Aunque llevamos pocas carreras, lo cierto es que no está siendo buena hasta ahora. Es peor de lo que esperábamos y estamos lejos del podio y de optar a victorias. Aún así no tiramos la toalla y estamos trabajando día y noche en el coche para mejorar”
    Although there has been few races to be honest they aren´t going well. It is worst than we expected, we are far from the podium and to expect victories. Even though we don´t give it away and we work night and day to get a better car

    “Arriesgar o no depende de la situación de carrera que haya. En Mónaco podía haber sido tercero o cuarto, pero por dos errores míos no lo conseguí. En Canadá tuve otro error y no pude acabar. Iba tercero, pero tenía que entrar en boxes en cuatro vueltas y hubiera salido, según las previsiones del equipo, séptimo u octavo. Prefiero arriesgar y no acabar que conformarme con eso”
    To risk ot not it depends on the situation of the race. In monaco i could have been 3 oor 4 but for my mistakes i couldn´t chieve it. In canada i had another mistake and i couldn´t finish. I was 3 but i had to box and i would have been 7 or 8 . I prefer to risk and not finish than to resing myself to that

    “Ahora no es el peor momento de la temporada. En Malasia fui octavo y en Bahrein noveno haciendo buenas carreras. Allí pensé que todo iba bastante mal. En Barcelona el coche mejoró y ahora podemos luchar por ser quintos o sextos. Estamos, claramente, en línea ascendente”
    Now it´s not the worst moment. IN malaysia i were 8, in bahrein 9 and doing good races. There i thought everything were really bad. In Barceona the car was better and now we can fight to be 5 or 6 we are clearly improving

    “No me sorprenden sus errores. Las que fueron extrañas fueron las primeras nueve carreras del año pasado con nueve podios. Todo le vino de cara y tuvo suerte. No todo depende del piloto. Este año es más normal”
    I´m not impressed by his mistakes (hamilton obviously)The really strange thing were the first nine races of last year. It all went good for him and he had a bit of luck. Everything does not depende on the driver, this year is more normal.

    I think these are the more interesting bits, the rest, he is looking for some points in france and a good race, they want to fare good at team home, blah blah

  9. ninguen said on 18th June 2008, 12:25

    Jean, as far as i´ve seen he doesn´t speak a word about loss of tc

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th June 2008, 12:31

    Thanks Brar, Jean and Ninguen!

  11. Well, it seems in the land where the deification of Lewis will continue forever (aka, the British Press), speaking against him runs the risk of being referred to as a Blasphemous Heretic.

    Firstly, I think if not luck, it wasn’t even Lewis’ own talent by itself that gave him 9 Podiums in a row. He had himself admitted to using Fernando’s settings during the first part of the season last year. Additionally, if you look at this year, using his own settings, his tire wear is too much. Missing inputs from Fernando I guess.

    And lastly, about Fernando being a whiner. If you were at the top of your game, and your claim to fame was the fact that you toppled the best in business for two years running, and then one of the best teams comes to you asking you to help them be the best in the business and vice versa. Then you realize that the new team is using your expertise to help its own in-grown talent to become the best in the game. How would you feel, regardless of whether they promised you preferential treatment or not? Slighted? I guess so.

  12. Jean said on 18th June 2008, 13:28

    Ninguen , u r right , he does not say it , but that’s the thing I assume he means , as he refers to this year being more “normal” than last year. Loss of TC probably being the biggest change from last year ?

  13. verasaki said on 18th June 2008, 14:15

    mountain, mole hill. slow day?

  14. KEITH,

    I think that Fernando should take care of your car and of his team, shut up his mouth and just drive!

    To Brad Spurgeon his said:

    “The difference between the team in 2006 and nowadays is the lack of confidence.”

    In the next day he said:

    “We have a lot of work to do. I will take a decision on my future (stay or not in Renault!) towards the end of the year when we’ll be able to see how far we have come.”

    I think that is a weird way of how to motivate a “team spirit”. In any opportunity his shows how open he is to negotiate with any top team and leave his team insecure and unmotivated.

    In the last days he is speaking too much about anything but anybody seems to scrutiny his words as they did with Lewis.

    About his mistake in Canada his said: “instead of finish in 7º or 8º I prefer to take risks and crash.”
    His team needs points to feel confident, to gain more money, to invest in the new R29.

    He seems to be having more power, or think that have, in company than Mr. Ghosn or his Papa Flav.

    Fernando is a great driver, the best one on the grid, there’s no doubts about it, but he is feeling, and is expressing himself in a very omnipotent way.

  15. MondoL said on 18th June 2008, 14:58

    I think FA comment goes more on the way that is difficult for everyone to have a 9 win strike at the beging of the season. There are engine problems, there are heavy rains, cars which you don’t control can crash on your back, etc. This is the kind of luck FA is talking about. Of course LH is a heck of a driver, but a DNF would be normal even for WC, yet alone for noobs.

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