Fernando Alonso’s run in the Indianapolis 500 keeps paying off in juicy, tender beef. Not with Alonso—he was pretty chill. No, it’s between three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, who keeps talking shit about IndyCar, and that series’ drivers. There’s only one way to settle this: put Hamilton in an IndyCar.
Before the Indianapolis 500, Hamilton insinuated that Alonso’s competition may not have been the best if Alonso could qualify fifth for his rookie run at the Indianapolis 500, asking L’Equipe, as translated by Autoweek:
I looked at the times and, frankly, for his first ever qualifying for Fernando to be fifth — what does that say about Indy?
Formula One fans are familiar with Lewis Hamilton running his mouth on all kinds of things, even when it’s not a good idea.
Only this time, Hamilton picked on IndyCar, whose drivers and fanbase are among the most defensive and obsessive on the planet. Years of being written off as a place for drivers who aren’t good enough for F1 by people who conveniently forget how hard it is to get a competitive F1 seat would do that to anyone, I suppose.
IndyCar drivers, including 2004 IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan, are rightfully pointing out the fact that only a handful of cars in F1 are competitive—and Hamilton’s been in one of them, with a competitive Mercedes. Kanaan told Globo, as translated in Autoweek:
What can I say. The guy (Hamilton) competed in a two-car world championship last year and was second, so I don’t think he can say much. It was a pleasure to have Fernando here. He is humble, not like some of his colleagues who were making comments this month.
Rubbing it in that Hamilton got beaten by his own teammate Nico Rosberg last year is a quality dis chock-full of scrumptious beef.
IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe noted the same thing about F1's field of a few haves vs. a lot of have-nots, telling Motorsport.com:
It’s funny hearing criticism about the depth of our field from someone who has to race three other cars, when we have seven winners in the first seven races. It shows how competitive this series is, the parity between the manufacturers, between teams, just how difficult it is to win one of these races.
Graham Rahal, who won both of this weekend’s races in Detroit, also got his own post-race dig in at the short list of people Hamilton competes against in F1:
I can’t imagine the feeling of going to each and every race weekend and knowing that all I got to do is beat my teammate and I’m going to win, but it doesn’t happen here. [...] I put Scott Dixon in a Mercedes all day long, and Lewis is going to have more than he really wants to deal with, I guarantee you. Maybe not me, but Scott Dixon.
This shit-talking is exactly what IndyCar has been missing. IndyCar’s marketing crew awkwardly tried to play up “rivals” in recent seasons, but everyone’s too affable. Likeable. Sponsor-friendly. Inoffensive.
Meanwhile, Hamilton isn’t just a nemesis—he’s the nemesis who immediately comes to mind whenever motorsport fans try to define “nemesis.”
Fortunately, Hamilton told NESN he’d like to race in other series so long as they don’t interfere with his main ride in F1. There’s only one way to settle this debate over whether Lewis Hamilton is better than IndyCar’s field once and for all: put him in an IndyCar, and see how he does.
Of course, Hamilton racing an IndyCar would unleash an unending stream of hot takes on Hamilton’s own performance, which I’m sure fans of Alonso’s Indy 500 run will savor with glee.
Come over to America and race, Lewis. Let’s see if you can put your money where your mouth is.