Fernando Alonso branded ‘dodgiest driver’ after ex-mechanic reveals how he turned McLaren against Lewis Hamilton

Fernando Alonso and Sir Lewis Hamilton did not enjoy the healthiest of relationships while at McLaren together.

Former McLaren mechanic, Marc Priestley, has revealed that Fernando Alonso used “tactics” to win over members of the team during the 2007 season.

Alonso had just on two championships on the spin with Renault in 2005 and 2006, but he moved from Enstone to Woking to join Ron Dennis’ McLaren side.

That door had opened after Kimi Raikkonen moved from the British side to Ferrari, and after the departure from Formula 1 of Juan Pablo Montoya, Alonso would be racing with a rookie team-mate.

His name was Sir Lewis Hamilton. The then 21-year-old Briton had received funding from Dennis throughout his junior career due to the phenomenal talent he possessed.

READ: Fernando Alonso insists there was something wrong with his Alpine

That, coupled with his immense skill, helped get through the junior formulae and, ultimately, up to F1.

The pair shared a frosty relationship that season, and tensions came to a head at the Hungarian Grand Prix when the Spaniard stopped in the pit box during qualifying to deny his team-mate a final run.

Both drivers won four races that season, but they would eventually fall agonisingly short of the championship, with Raikkonen claiming the gold by a single point.

Alonso had fallen out with Dennis as the season progressed, and there was only room for two of the biggest personalities in the sport at one team for so long, so the double world champion moved back to Renault.

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Since then, the now 41-year-old’s career has taken him to Ferrari, back to McLaren, and now to Alpine, from whom he will join Aston Martin next season.

He has also tried his hand at the Indy 500, and has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, while Hamilton has claimed seven world titles in the pinnacle of motorsport with McLaren and Mercedes.

Priestley worked closely with Alonso during that 2007 campaign, and he suggested that there was bribery at play.

“One of Fernando’s tactics is to try and bring the whole team over to his side of the garage,” he told the Pitstop podcast.

READ: ‘People didn’t want to work on Hamilton’s car’ – ex-mechanic

“And Fernando’s manager, or his trainer, is handing out little brown envelopes stuffed with cash to everybody who wasn’t on Lewis’ car.

“We all got these little brown envelopes and I remember opening up the envelope… [there was] like 1,500 euros or something…”

While that story seems controversial, Alonso revealed in 2020, in an interview with F1 Racing Magazine, that he shares his bonus prize money with his team members as a thank you for their hard work.