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Formula 1

Alonso regrets Hamilton remarks – but claims media bias at play

by Josh Suttill, Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Fernando Alonso has apologised for the comments he made to his team after his clash with Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix but believes Formula 1 shouldn’t broadcast team radio.

Alonso started third at Spa and was up to second after the first corner before he collided with ex-team-mate Hamilton at Les Combes on the opening lap.

Hamilton was sent airborne and returned to the ground with a 45g impact that made Hamilton feel like he’d “broken his back” and ended his race while Alonso was able to continue and eventually finished fifth.

Neither driver was severely hurt in the incident – though Hamilton received a warning for missing the medical centre visit required after such an impact – and the stewards hinted Hamilton was primarily at fault but elected not to act on it as it was a first-lap racing incident.

Alonso was furious with Hamilton after the clash, calling him an “idiot” who only knows how to race from the front. Hamilton admitted “he was definitely to blame” for the incident but said he wouldn’t speak to Alonso after the grand prix because of Alonso’s team radio rant.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1

Alonso also concluded that it was a racing incident when he spoke to the media after the race and has now offered his apology to Hamilton when speaking to the media on the eve of the Dutch GP weekend at Zandvoort.

“Yeah, it [my comments were] made [into] huge thing, so first of all, it’s Lewis, a legend and champion of our time and when you say something, and I’m sorry to repeat this again, [about] a British driver, there’s a huge media involvement after that,” Alonso claimed.

“They have been saying a lot of things to Checo [Perez], Carlos [Sainz], to me, if you say something to a Latin driver, everything is a bit more fun. When you say something to others, it’s a little bit more serious.

“But anyway, I apologised, I’m not thinking what I said [at the time].

“I don’t think that there was much to blame in that moment to be honest, looking at replays and everything. It’s a first-lap incident, we’re all very close together.

“In 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 have not said.

“But at the same time, I said also after the race, it was a racing incident in my opinion. When you say something on the radio, in that moment, you think you’re talking with your engineer.

Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Belgian GP Spa-Francorchamps

“You’re preparing the strategy, finally you start in top three, you overtake Checo on the first corner. you’re running second and something happens, you say something to your mate, your colleague, your engineer in that moment.

“You should be aware that it’s broadcasted, but it’s like – if someone makes a hard tackle in football, in that moment you say something to your team-mate or your defender, it’s not broadcasted.

“Our media time is before or after the race, and before and after the race, I said what I was thinking. In the radio, I said something that I don’t think that way [anymore].”

Alonso was yet to approach Hamilton in person at that time but expressed his desire to catch him and apologise to him in the TV pen shortly after that interview took place.

The two-time world champion said he’ll change how he uses the team radio in the future because of the backlash.

“I will try to be quiet in the radio always, don’t be part of a show that I don’t agree with,” he added.

When asked if team radio should be broadcast, Alonso said: “I don’t think so. It’s the only sport where it happens.

“You have your moments of privacy with your team, and you prepare everything.

Fernando Alonso Alpine F1

“I know it’s part of the show, all the things that are broadcasted normally are a little bit spicy because the sport wants that spice into the race, they never broadcast ‘go to diff position five’, because it’s not interesting and it’s what we talk about every lap.

“I understand that and unfortunately the measures you have to take to avoid broadcasting things, you are not thinking in heat of moment to stay quiet at the time.”

It’s not the first time Alonso has made such a request as he called for a team radio ban following his infamous “GP2 engine” rant at Honda’s home race at Suzuka in 2015 when he was driving for McLaren-Honda.

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