Things get heated on the race tracks of Formula 1, usually when there is contact of some sort, and one driver is perceived to have fucked up, intentionally or not. To the aggrieved driver, this can be cause to vent to one’s team in frustration in the heat of the moment, as Fernando Alonso did Sunday in Belgium, after Hamilton didn’t give Alonso enough space on a turn on the first lap. The resulting contact sent Hamilton’s car upwards in the air.
Formula 1 doesn’t allow its YouTube videos to be embedded on other websites, but you can video of the incident here. Afterward, Alonso could be heard on his radio telling his Alpine team the following: “What an idiot. Closing the door from the outside. I mean, we had a mega start but, yeah, this guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”
Alonso was correct in placing the blame on Hamilton if also incorrect in saying that Hamilton doesn’t know how to drive without the lead, as any highlight reel of his comeback wins in Formula 1 will tell you. (You can start with Brazil last year.) When I saw all of this live on Sunday I deemed the episode mildly amusing but not worth much more thought, as this stuff happens all the time in Formula 1.
Well, Alonso disagreed, and, on Thursday, issued an apology. Sort of. Via Formula1.com:
“I will hopefully see him today,” said Alonso. “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 I have huge respect for him.”
“It made a huge thing,” he said. “First of all, it’s Lewis – he’s a champion, he’s a legend of our time. And then when you say something – and I’m sorry to repeat this – against a British driver, there is a huge media involvement after that.
“They’ve been saying a lot of things to Checo [Sergio Perez], to Carlos [Sainz], to me. If you say something to a Latin driver, everything is a little bit more fun. When you say something to others, it’s a little bit more serious.
“But anyway, yes I apologise. I’m not thinking what I said – I don’t think that it was much to blame in that moment looking at the replays to be honest, because it was a first-lap incident and we are close together. The heat of the moment, the adrenaline of the moment, fighting finally for the top two, top three, made me say those comments that I should not say.
These humorless Brits are the problem, you see, and on that point I can’t really argue with Fernando. Anyway, Alonso and Hamilton also did the requisite social media kiss-and-make-up.
There is no word from Hamilton just yet, though I’m sure he will say that truly this is all nothing, as he should.