When Hamilton ‘put the manners’ on Alonso

You are a rookie, lining up fourth on your debut in Australia, as team-mate to the reigning double world champion, who is now firmly the ‘man to beat’ after the retirement of a seven-time champion whose records many feel will never be beaten.

Taking to the start of your first Grand Prix, the idea is to just keep your nose clean, keep it tidy and come home to bank a podium at the very least to start of a learning campaign in Grand Prix racing.

And then the lights go out and you find yourself on the outside of Turn 1 with that two-time champion boxed in, so what do you do?

Option A is to cede position to your team leader and fall in behind or Option B is to send it around the outside and send a big message.

As we know, Lewis Hamilton chose Option B, putting the manners on Alonso, who would eventually finish second with the Briton coming home third.

It was the first seed in a rivalry that tore McLaren apart in 2007, the ramifications of which are still being felt today.

A further flashpoint came in Monaco, when Hamilton was ordered to hold position behind Alonso to maintain a one-two, but later in the season, in qualifying in Hungary, Hamilton reneged on a team plan to allow Alonso through in qualifying which put the Spanish driver on the back-foot.

So, Alonso then ‘held’ Hamilton for just enough time in the pit-box to ensure he got a final flying lap on the board, whereas Hamilton missed the flag.

This led to a stewards meeting and also one between Alonso and Team Principal Ron Dennis and his number two, Martin Whitmarsh, where BBC Sport revealed in 2018 that Alonso demanded McLaren make Hamilton run out of fuel in the race.

The drama was playing out with spygate in the background, with the FIA launching a second investigation into McLaren being in possession of Ferrari technical information after initally clearing them, based in part of evidence supplied by Alonso.

McLaren was eventually fined $100 million – the largest fine in the history of sport – and chucked out of a Constructors’ it would have won by nine points from Ferrari.

Mercedes, as partner was responsible for a chunk of the fine, and began to look elsewhere to see if it could enter as a full works team.

Come 2010, after the success of Brawn GP, it was rebadged to Mercedes – the same team Hamilton would join and forge a dynasty to rival that of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari.


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