He has been at the top of Formula 1 for two decades and as it is obvious and normal that he has seen all the colors, but probably Norbert Haug he has never been as embarrassed as in the post-qualifying press conference of 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix. The German journalist, who at the time held the position of president of sports activities within Mercedes, had the difficult task of mediating between the two drivers of the McLaren, the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and the novice Lewis Hamilton. Between the two, the day before the race, there were sparks on the track: intending to score a fast lap, Hamilton did not let Alonso pass, who was also about to improve his time; to take revenge, the Asturian intentionally extended his pit stop after the tire change, acting as a cap for his teammate and delaying his return to the track.
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That episode of fratricidal tension, emblematic in focusing on a somewhat turbulent season for the Woking team and for Alonso, who left the team after only one season and, was remembered by Haug in the last episode of the podcast Beyond The Grid broadcast on the official website of Formula 1. According to the former manager of Mercedes, in 2007 the partnership between McLaren and the Stuttgart giant could have given “Much better results”. The German journalist then rekindled the spotlight on the skirmishes between Alonso and Hamilton at the Hungaroring.
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“It was an episode that we would have all gladly avoided. I don’t think about it today – Haug revealed -, but at the time I suffered a lot for what happened on the track: you usually struggle to beat your opponents, but that time we fought against ourselves and it was painful to acknowledge it. We received a flood of criticism and it was up to me and not Ron Dennis, on that occasion, to show up at the press conference to tell what had happened and answer questions from reporters. I looked like an idiot because I was trying to explain something inexplicable. They were surreal qualifications for us. Stuff that if I had written them down to make a film, no one would have believed them “.