Alonso: 2007 Hungary pit-lane penalty was unfair

Hamilton Alonso McLaren F1 2007 formula 1 formula one

Fernando Alonso has cast his mind back to the 2007 Formula 1 season when he was teammates at McLaren with a rookie Lewis Hamilton.

Driving a competitive McLaren, both missed out on the title to Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen by just one point after infighting engulfed the team, with both drivers suffering bad luck along the way.

One particular incident that caused controversy came in Hungary, where Alonso picked up a penalty for delaying in the pit-lane in order to prevent Hamilton from attempting a second lap, prompting complaints from the Brit’s side of the garage.

Alonso left McLaren that off-season, while Hamilton stayed and went on to claim his maiden world championship the following year.

The Spanish racer returns to F1 this season for a third spell with team Enstone, now under the branding of Alpine.

Asked to compare himself with the seven-time world champion, Alonso said that the fact they finished on the same number of points says a lot.

“It’s difficult to compare times, difficult to compare drivers in the same time because you need to have all the things and all the ingredients together to have a fair answer,” he told the WTF1 podcast. “It’s true that having the same car and the same team in one year, that is a good opportunity to compare drivers and the final score was 109-109 in terms of points.

“So that’s already one answer. It’s true that the people say it was his rookie year and it was not my rookie year. At the same time I can say it was a change to Bridgestone, like a GP2 tyre of that time, compared to the Michelin and the Bridgestone that we were running in the past.

“My first three or four races and all my winter testing was very compromised for this tyre and I had to re-adapt a lot of things on my style.

“It never got public that thing, because it’s not of interest to the public. But his rookie year, true the Bridgestone tyre changed that year.

“Luck factor is also an important thing. Lewis had the pit-lane entry in Shanghai at the penultimate race, that was a bad moment for him. I had two issues with the gearbox, starting 10th in two races. I had one of the most unfair penalties in Hungary with the pit-lane block, it was pole at that time, and from pole position you start 10th in Hungary.

“Then if you lose the Championship for one point, that hurts when it’s something like that.

“So 109-109 I’m happy, and I see now Lewis’ success, and in Formula 1 it is difficult to compare Michael, Lewis, Senna. They have all been great in different eras and a lot of victories, but for sure you need a car and a package that Lewis has at the moment and he’s delivering.”