Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso ‘still have needle between them’ more than a decade on from their 2007 rivalry, says Martin Brundle. The Sky Sports pundit claimed Alonso went into a ‘steady’ tyre preservation during the race.
This forced Hamilton to line up behind him and scupper any chances of the Briton challenging for a top-five finish. However, Alonso then ‘bizarrely took off’ to set one of the fastest laps of the race, suggesting he was backing Hamilton up the whole time.
Writing in his weekly Sky Sports column, Brundle said: “Norris had that luxury of an extra stop because behind him Fernando Alonso went into a steady, but necessary for him, tyre preservation mode with the rest of the field queued up behind him, starting with a very frustrated Lewis Hamilton. ‘That’s not my problem’ said Fernando, and you can’t help but sense there’s still needle between them after their McLaren season as team-mates back in 2007.
“Fernando then bizarrely took off for a while and did the third fastest lap of the race to retain seventh place. Eighth was Hamilton who would normally have excelled in such conditions given some clear air.”
Tensions between the pair exploded when they were McLaren team-mates in 2007, forcing Alonso to leave the team a year later to return to Renault. However, it appears there is still some animosity in the air after a series of complaints between the teams on Sunday.
Mercedes told Hamilton that Alonso’s pace was ‘very slow in comparison’ to the cars around them. But Alonso hit back claiming it was not his problem that Hamilton was getting frustrated behind him during the race.
Team principal Toto Wolff also weighed in on the argument, claiming Alonso was using tactics to hold up Hamilton.
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He said: “Five seconds is like a Formula Two car. This is such a spectacle here, a fantastic venue and it is always amazing to be here. But we need to maybe look in a way at the layout where we can basically close the loop for going five seconds slower and cars still can’t overtake.”
Wolff claimed Hamilton could have easily caught the cars in front to possibly fight for a top-five finish.
He added: “[Hamilton] could have been right there and closed Lando’s pit stop window or even have fought with Lando and George in the front because that was his pace. The regs are the regs and there is nothing to say. You can see another lesson that track position is everything in Monaco.”
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