Fernando Alonso apologized for his remarks about Lewis Hamilton during the Belgian Grand Prix and expressed doubts about the use of team radio transmissions in Formula One.
The former McLaren teammates added to a lengthy record of controversial incidents between them when Hamilton’s Mercedes made contact with Alonso’s Alpine on the first lap of last week’s race after coming into the apex at Les Combes.
Alonso referred to Hamilton as an “idiot” and claimed that he only knew how to win races by taking the pole position. Later, Hamilton admitted fault for the collision, but the FIA stewards spared him punishment because it was only the opening lap.
Alonso continued to support his team in achieving a double-points finish as Hamilton was forced to retire from the race due to damage. The seven-time world champion could experience severe penalties if he is unable to use the power unit that was in the car.
Prior to the Dutch Grand Prix, Alonso stated that the remarks were hastily made and did not accurately express his feelings toward his former McLaren teammate.
“It has been made a huge thing,” Alonso said. “First of all it is Lewis, he is a champion, a legend of our time and then when you say something and I am sorry to repeat this against a British driver, there is a huge media involvement after that.”
“They have been saying a lot of things to Checo, to Carlos, to me… if you say something to a Latin driver, everything is a bit more fun. If you say it to Lewis it is a bit more serious.”
“But yes, I apologise. I feel… I am not thinking about what I said. There was not much to blame in that moment, to be honest, looking at the replays because it was the first lap and we are all very close together.”
“The heat of the moment and the adrenaline of the moment, finally fighting for top two, top three, made me say those comments that I should not say but at the same time, and as I said after the race, I said it was a racing incident in my opinion.”
Additionally, he reiterated that he did not agree with his statement that Hamilton can only win by starting from the front.
“No, no, no, I don’t believe that,” the double world champion said. “I mean, it’s not that I believe or don’t believe, there are facts that it is not that way.”
“So it’s something that you say in the heat of the moment, but as I said, nothing that I said is true, or there are facts that are completely the opposite. So I have huge respect.”
Following the remarks, seven-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton had claimed he wouldn’t approach Alonso for a talk but had inquired as to whether he had made an effort to apologize. Alonso admitted that he had not had time to apologize to Hamilton in person, but that he intended to do it on Thursday in Zandvoort.
“I will hopefully when we are doing the TV pen I will approach him and say sorry if he understood in that way… I have absolutely no problems with him and as I said, I have huge respect for him.”
Alonso said that drivers occasionally speak on team radio without giving their words much thought. In addition, he questioned whether driver radio broadcasts had to be made at all.
“When you say something on the radio, in that moment, you think that you are talking with your engineer, so you are preparing the strategy.”
“Obviously, you should be aware that is broadcast but it’s like if someone makes a hard tackle or something in football, in that moment you say something to your teammate, or your defender or wherever, that is not broadcast.”
“I don’t think so, as I said, that is the only sport, in football, in tennis, in whatever, you can have your moments of privacy with your team, and you prepare everything.
“But I know that this is part of the show, and as I said, all the things that are broadcast in the radio normally are a little bit spicy, because the sport wants that spice into the race.
“They never said go to diff position five, because it’s not interesting and it’s what we talk every lap. I understand that and unfortunately, the measure that you will have to take to avoid broadcasting things that you are not thinking on in the heat of the moment is to stay quiet all the time.”