Fernando Alonso believes his radio comments about Lewis Hamilton were blown out of proportion because his rival is British.
Mercedes’ Hamilton and Alpine’s Alonso came to blows while fighting for second place on the opening lap of last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, leading to Alonso branding Hamilton as an “idiot” over team radio. Alonso added “this guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”
Hamilton took the blame for the incident but said he wouldn’t speak to Alonso after hearing the Spaniard’s comments.
Addressing the situation ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, Alonso said: “It [was] made [into] 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, to Carlos, 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.
“In 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, to 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.”
Alonso is yet to speak with Hamilton but plans to apologise to the seven-time world champion in person.
“I will hopefully see him today,” he said. “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.”
Asked if he stands by his comment about Hamilton only being able to race from the front, Alonso replied: “No, I don’t believe. It’s not that I believe or don’t believe, there are facts that it is not that way.
“It is something that you say in the heat of the moment, but nothing that I said is true and there are facts that are completely the opposite. So I have huge respect.”
Alonso admitted he will now think twice about what he says over the radio and is likely to be quieter in the future.
“I will be very quiet on the radio,” he said. “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 don’t be part of a show that I don’t agree with.
The two-time world champion added: “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 said go to ‘dif 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.”
Alonso and Hamilton were McLaren teammates in the first year of the Brit’s F1 career. In the 2023 season, Alonso will appear in the driver line-up for Aston Martin.