Fernando Alonso has said he plans to apologise to Lewis Hamilton at this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix following comments he made during the Belgian Grand Prix over the team radio.
The pair came together on the opening lap after Hamilton attempted to pass the Alpine drver around the outside of Les Combes. The seven-time world champion’s Mercedes was sent into the air and sustained race-ending damage.
Alonso was able to continue his race to cross the line in fifth, however, in the immediate aftermath of the collision he said over the team radio: “What an idiot. Closing the door from the outside. We had a mega start but this guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”
In the heat of the moment, the Spanish driver said it was a racing incident, but on Thursday during media interviews at Zandvoort, he said he would speak to Hamilton and apologise.
“I will hopefully see him today,” said Alonso. “When we are doing the TV pen I will approach him and say sorry if he understood in that way. I have absolutely no problems with him and I have huge respect for him.”
The Alpine driver, who will join Aston Martin next season to race with Lance Stroll, said that his message being broadcasted and written about extensively meant it was blown way out of proportion.
“It made a huge thing,” he said. “First of all, it’s Lewis – he’s a champion, he’s a legend of our time. And then when you say something – and I’m sorry to repeat this – against a British driver, there is a huge media involvement after that.
“They’ve been saying a lot of things to Checo [Sergio Perez], to Carlos [Sainz], to me. If you say something to a Latin driver, everything is a little bit more fun. When you say something to others, it’s a little bit more serious.
“But anyway, yes I apologise. I’m not thinking what I said – I don’t think that it was much to blame in that moment looking at the replays to be honest, because it was a first-lap incident and we are close together. The heat of the moment, the adrenaline of the moment, fighting finally for the top two, top three, made me say those comments that I should not say.
“At the same time, I said after the race that it was a racing incident in my opinion. When you say something on the radio, in that moment you think you are talking to your engineer, so you are preparing the strategy – you start in the top three, you overtake Checo in the first corner and running second and then something happens and you say something to your mate, your colleague, to your engineer in that moment.
“Obviously you should be aware that it should be broadcasted, but it’s like if someone makes a hard tackle or something in football. In that moment you say something to your team mate or whatever, and in that moment it’s not broadcasted. Before the race or after the race, I said what I was thinking. On the radio, I said something that I was not… I don’t think that way.”
He then said he was going to “be very quiet on the radio” going forward.