Dennis: ‘Alonso underestimated Hamilton’

2007 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2007

Ron Dennis has given his explanation for the the fierce rivalry that broke out between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton when the pair were team mates at McLaren three years ago.

Speaking with Bernie Ecclestone in an interview for Dennis said:

It was very simple – Alonso didn’t expect Hamilton to be that competitive in his first year.

He told me at the beginning that it was my decision to sign a rookie like Hamilton, but that it could cost me the constructors’ championship.

Fernando was calculating everything, but not that Lewis would challenge him. That affected him massively.
Ron Dennis

He added his relationship with the two drivers had been more “fatherly” compared to what had gone before with drivers like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost:

When I started as a team owner I was younger than my driver, Graham Hill, so he showed me the ropes.

With Lauda, Senna and Prost I had a sort of comradely relationship – it was again age related.

With Hamilton and Alonso it was more of a fatherly tie. Prost and Senna were completely different in their backgrounds and character. They eyed each other suspiciously and didn’t trust each other. I let their track rivalry happen.
Ron Dennis

Dennis also denied it was difficult for him to give up control of his team last year after two decades in charge and described new team principal Martin Whitmarsh as “the perfect successor”.

Read more: F1 2007 season review: Hamilton vs Alonso

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61 comments on Dennis: ‘Alonso underestimated Hamilton’

  1. F1Yankee said on 7th July 2010, 21:09

    ron dennis to hamilton, as the cars as stacked: “this is what happens when you don’t ******* listen!”

  2. Gagan said on 8th July 2010, 4:28

    It now proves that whatever happens, happens for Good.
    Had the relatioship between Alo and Ham havent gone sour, they both would be sitting in Mclaren and winning the world championships (that we all would have certailny liked). And now when both of them are bitter rivals, we get to see and (hear) all the good racing and bashing on the radio and the press conferences. Its all good. One thing is sure, F1 needs people who speark their minds. Even myself would have reacted the same way Ham did in Malaysia and Alo in Valencia. We dont want them too be politicians, do we ?

  3. Ken said on 8th July 2010, 17:20

    Keith please post Lewis vs Fernando’s salary for year

    Dreamers please take a look at the difference in salary.
    And stop trying to blame Dennis for Alonso’s failure.
    As far as we know Fernando got paid, so Dennis completed his end of the deal.

  4. DON1 said on 26th May 2011, 4:36

    Hamilton is a BORN RACER from day 1 he came into F1 he didn’t need to learn anything from Alonso as he proved in his rookie season just losing out by a single point then going on to win the next season he was learning on the job himself race by race (impressive).Nigel Mansell is just a HATER,to say a comment like that its just plain to see he’s jealous,when people say bad comments its just a testament to how good a race driver Hamilton is. Every team mate he had can testify to that as former world champions Alonso and Button can only play second fiddle to him with his raw speed and overtaking maneuvers(exciting) give Hamilton a fast competitive car and he will beat all in his wake including Vettle (oh yeah McLaren team need to stop messing up his pit-stops unlike RBR).

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