In last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was lapping nearly four seconds faster than the former after completing his third and final pit stop. This gave him great opportunities to win the race. But the Mercedes driver’s chase was interrupted when he found himself fighting for fourth position with Fernando Alonso’s Alpine, which managed to hold him at bay for 10 laps and played a fundamental role in Esteban Ocon’s victory.
Alonso managed to get out of Turn 2 perfectly for a number of laps and this prevented Hamilton from overtaking him at Turn 3 or at the entrance to Turn 4. The Brit complained about some of Alonso’s maneuvers on the radio, judging them to be aggressive, but the Race Direction has not taken any action. In his usual post-race blog, Formula 1 general manager Ross Brawn lauded the battle between Hamilton and Alonso – together the two make nine world titles – stating that he saw nothing wrong with defense maneuvers.
“I am happy that Fernando was the driver of the day, because I would have given him my vote too – said Brawn – It was a great performance. One of the Alpine pilots would have obtained this recognition and the battle oscillated between Esteban and Fernando. When Fernando is in Formula 1 you always see incredible fights, but you know they are always clean. I know Lewis complained a little about Fernando’s defensive maneuvers, but I don’t think they were a problem. He was tough but loyal and gave him enough space, which is what needs to be done. It was a brilliant battle and I hope it is just a taste of what will be the second half of the season ”.
Hamilton managed to overtake Alonso when the Spaniard made a small mistake at Turn 1, managing to go after Carlos Sainz and then overtake him and close third position, which later became second following the disqualification of Sebastian Vettel. After the race, Hamilton had called the battle fantastic, but he believed Alonso had overstepped the line of regularity.
“It was really, really fantastic – commented Hamilton – I would like the cars to be closer together and I’m excited to see what they will be like next year. Hope this novelty eradicates some of that rafting we have here. It is a track where it is very difficult to overtake and stay behind, especially in the last sector. But they were great wheel-to-wheel battles. It has literally been wheel to wheel at least once. I don’t have much more to say about it. Race against a two-time world champion, and arguably one of the toughest yet loyal riders. I would say that on Sunday he went a little to the limit ”.