Hungary 2007: the whole story

2007 F1 season

Strained smiles for Alonso and Hamilton after qualifying at Hungary in \'07

Strained smiles for Alonso and Hamilton after qualifying at Hungary in '07

The 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix was the turning point of last year’s season.

This was the moment when the fraught relations betwen Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren went into meltdown. Harsh words between Alonso and Ron Dennis brought new evidence to the eyes of the FIA which would lead to McLaren’s expulsion from the constructors’ championship – and Alonso’s departure from the team.

Here’s a look back at how McLaren’s disaster unfolded with each original article from this site from that weekend and more information that has come to light since.

4th August 2007 (Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying)

Hungarian GP 2007 qualifying: Alonso’s tainted triumph – Immediately after qualifying little was known about what had happened at McLaren. But it was plain for all to see that Alonso had blocked his team mate in the pits, preventing him from completing his final run in qualifying.

Video: Alonso’s dirty trick on Hamilton – The video footage of what happened.

Alonso’s qualifying stunt: 21 opinions – While the stewards summoned McLaren and dwelled on the incident debates raged.

Dennis says Alonso not to blame – Finally solid details about what had happened began to emerge. Ron Dennis told the world the problem began with Hamilton failing to let Alonso past earlier in the session. He also said McLaren had held Alonso in the pits intentionally. But did that include the ten seconds where Alonso was stationary after the lollipop had been lifted?

Alonso & McLaren punished by stewards – The stewards didn’t believe McLaren’s explanation about the lollipop. Alonso got a five place grid penalty and McLaren were told they would not score constructors’ championship points that weekend.

5th August 2007 (Hungarian Grand Prix)

The stewards’ full verdict on McLaren and Alonso – Alonso’s claim he spent the final 10 seconds in conversation with his engineer were met with scepticism.

Another PR disaster for McLaren – Meanwhile two newspapers were claiming they had dialogue of a furious, expletive-ridden exchange between Hamilton and Dennis at the end of qualifying.

Hungarian Grand Prix 2007 review: Hamilton edges out Raikkonen – Hamilton won from pole position while Alonso could only managed fourth from sixth.

6th August 2007

Any sympathy for McLaren? – My thoughts on how McLaren’s efforts to treat their drivers equally had backfired.

British tabloids blame Alonso – Reportage from one section of the British press was predictably one-sided. As far as the tabloids were concerned, Hamilton had done nopthing wrong.

14th September 2007

Ron Dennis revealed evidence against McLaren to FIA – After the verdict against McLaren in the ‘spygate’ case was announced it became clear that the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend had played a significant role.

Alonso and de la Rosa’s emails led to McLaren’s punishment – According to Dennis, Alonso threatened to make the contents of several compromising emails in his possession available to the FIA. Alonso has denied this version of events but not yet offered his side of the story.

4th February 2008

Was Dennis to blame in McLaren’s Hungary row? – A long time after the events a report in The Times claimed to have the real details of what was actually said between Hamilton and Dennis on the radio. It quoted Dennis saying, “That’s what happens when you don’t [expletive] do what you’re told.”

Perhaps this weekend, one year on from the events of 2007, fresh details may come to light to explain this confusing, disputed, and highly controversial episode.

Fernando Alonso turned his back on McLaren after the Hungary controversy

Fernando Alonso turned his back on McLaren after the Hungary controversy

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22 comments on Hungary 2007: the whole story

  1. Samuel said on 1st August 2008, 16:19

    Team Radio would be the key here. I’ve seen a transcription of Fernando’s team radio published spanish media (see here). Unfortunately I don’t know if it’s the real one and even if it were, since it’s a translation could have been intentionally misinterpreted.

    Said that, if that transcription is true, there was no malice in what Alonso did. He argued with his engineer about his tyres after the lollipop is raised which coud have taken ten seconds easily. Also, I found hard to believe than a F1 racer can think on the go a plan which needs a such precise timing to succeed (a few seconds more and he was out).

    As an Alonso fan I’m tempted to accept this trascription as a true one, leaked to the press by someone at McLaren, but I have to accept that there are no proof about its authenticity. Anyway, if McLaren would disclose these conversations(Fernando’s and Lewis’s ones), everyone could have a more precise idea about what really happened.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2008, 11:53

    According to Alan Henry McLaren considered firing Alonso for blocking Hamilton in the pits: more here

    It leads to the inevitable question, why didn’t they? Perhaps after Alonso threatened to make his emails public they thought firing him would send out the message he’d been fired for exposing the team.

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