Lewis Hamilton’s old rivalry with Fernando Alonso is back in the spotlight after the Belgian GP.
As they duelled towards the front of the field on lap 1 at fabled Spa-Francorchamps, their Mercedes and Alpine cars collided – and Alonso vented his fury.
On the radio, the Spaniard told his team that seven time world champion Hamilton – with whom he infamously shared the McLaren team in 2007 – is an “idiot”.
“I mean, we had a mega-start but this guy only knows how to drive starting first.”
Hamilton, 37, took the blame for the incident but stopped short of apologising because of Alonso’s radio outburst.
“It’s good to know how he feels towards me,” said the British driver.
“I would have spoken with him until I heard what he said.”
According to well-known Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov, though, there is some truth in Alonso’s insult.
“If you remove the ugly term ‘idiot’, he means Lewis is not used to fighting in the field. He’s used to starting first and therefore doesn’t feel who is in the so-called ‘blind spot’.
“But if you’re in the pack all the time, you get used to it. So from that point of view, Fernando is right.”
Former F1 driver Christian Danner also scolded Hamilton for his explanation of how the accident happened.
“Of course he was solely to blame – he made the move and then said it’s not his fault because he was in the blind spot. Is he crazy?” he told Sport1.
“He saw him, overtook him and drove into his car and then says he didn’t see him. So either his short-term memory has suffered or he can’t bring himself to admit that it was just stupid.”
Hamilton has even doubled-down in the days after the clash, posting a photo on social media of a personally autographed Mercedes cap made out “To Fernando”.
Alonso is trying to play the saga down.
“I was angry,” he admitted, “but it’s a shame that when I say something and it is broadcast, what you said becomes what you have to deal with in the media.
“Normally when you speak on the radio it’s only for your team, but I was frustrated at that point, for sure.”
Antonio Lobato, a veteran Spanish F1 commentator, also jumped to Alonso’s defense.
“You can’t take ‘What an idiot!’ from Alonso to Hamilton at face value,” he said. “Because in normal circumstances, Fernando would never say that about Hamilton or any other driver.
“What has happened since then is excessive.”