Fernando Alonso says he didn’t mean the comments he made over team radio about Lewis Hamilton in Spa-Francorchamps and will apologize to him at this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.
Hamilton was trying to overtake Alonso around the outside of Les Combes on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix but did not leave enough space and made contact with the Alpine, launching the Mercedes into the air. Hamilton had to retire while Alonso was able to continue, but immediately lashed out on team radio: “What an idiot! Closing the door from the outside. We had a mega start but this guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”
While Hamilton took responsibility for the clash, he said he wouldn’t be seeking Alonso out after learning of the comments. The Spaniard, however, says he will be speaking to his former teammate at Zandvoort.
“No (I haven’t made contact) yet but I will hopefully see him today,” Alonso said Thursday. “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.”
Alonso believes the reaction to his radio message was caused by the way the media covered it, while pointing out his comments post-race showed he doesn’t actually hold that opinion of Hamilton.
“It made a huge thing. 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 (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 apologize. 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.
“At the same time, I said after the race that it was a racing incident in my opinion. When you say something on the radio, in that moment you think you are talking to your engineer, so you are preparing the strategy — you start in the top three, you overtake Checo in the first corner and running second. And then something happens and you say something to your mate, yo your colleague, to your engineer in that moment.
“Obviously you should be aware that it should be broadcasted, but it’s like if someone makes a hard tackle or something in football. In that moment you say something to your teammate or whatever, and in that moment it’s not broadcasted. Before the race or after the race, I said what I was thinking. On the radio, I said something that I was not… I don’t think that way.”
The two-time world champion also says he will try not to be too animated on team radio in future, believing Formula 1 shouldn’t broadcast drivers’ radio messages.
“I will be very quiet on the radio. It is a sport that you have things broadcasted, things that should be a little bit of privacy with your team. So I will try to be a bit quiet always on the radio and not be part of a show that I don’t agree with.
“I don’t think (radio messages should be broadcast). As I said, it is the only sport… In football, in tennis, in whatever, you have your moments of privacy with your team and you prepare everything better.
“I know it’s part of the show. As I said, all the things broadcasted on the radio are a 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 but unfortunately the measure you will have to take to avoid broadcasting things you are not thinking, or in the heat of the moment, is to stay quiet all the time.”