I note that at the recent Mercedes Stars and Cars bash in Stuttgart Lewis Hamilton alluded to a visit he received from his former team mate Fernand...
I note that at the recent Mercedes Stars and Cars bash in Stuttgart Lewis Hamilton alluded to a visit he received from his former team mate Fernando Alonso shortly after the race in Sao Paulo last week. The Spaniard came to offer him his congratulations on winning the world title and Hamilton says that Alonso even went so far as to hug him.
By chance I was walking down the paddock ten yards behind Alonso as he left the Renault garage area in the open part of the paddock, heading down towards the tight, narrow warren which houses the 'midfield' teams. There was something about his stride which suggested that he had a purpose in mind and sure enough, when he arrived outside the back of the McLaren garage, he met up with Mclaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa. The pair shook hands and went inside, where the scene Hamilton described took place.
It was obviously pre-arranged between the Spanish pair, but it was curious to know whether Alonso texted De La Rosa asking him to escort him in there, perhaps when Lewis was confirmed as being there and Ron Dennis was safely out of view - or whether the initiative came from Pedro. [ more ]
Either way it's appropriate and it shows that Alonso has moved on a lot since the bitterness of his split with the team 12 months ago. Don't get the wrong idea, however. He still wishes the wrath of the heavens to fall on McLaren as a team, but he said quite clearly at a small press gathering on Thursday in Brazil that he had 'great respect' for Hamilton and that the pair speak to each other more than the media and public imagine. I think he was also dismayed and embarrassed by the racist Spanish internet site story over that weekend and this may have contributed to the gesture.That said, the rivalry everyone wants to see, both inside F1 and among the public, is Alonso in a Ferrari versus Hamilton in a McLaren. It would be Senna/Prost all over again, perhaps with a notch less bitterness, but a unique duel between two hugely competitive men with some history. The box office appeal of that duel would send F1's ratings through the roof.