Alpine’s Fernando Alonso has offered a hand of apology to Sir Lewis Hamilton after his comment about him on the radio during the Belgian Grand Prix.
After grid penalties were given to Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Alonso’s team-mate, Esteban Ocon, in Spa, Alonso and Hamilton started the race third and fourth, respectively.
The Briton cleared his double world champion at the start of the race, but could not escape the slipstream of the Spaniard, who was back down the inside heading into Les Combes on the opening lap.
Unfortunately, the seven-time champion had not seen Alonso in his wing mirror, so he turned in to the corner, only to find that his former McLaren team-mate was already on the apex.
They made contact, sending Hamilton up into the air and, as he came down, damage was done to the floor and the back of the car, forcing him to retire.
Despite minor damage, Alonso was fine to continue, and he would eventually beat Leclerc to fifth place, but not before he made a comment about Hamilton in the heat of the moment.
He implied that the 103-time race winner was only able to “drive and start from first,” and wagged his finger at the 37-year-old when he passed his stricken car at Blanchimont on the second lap.
Hamilton took responsibility for the crash – although the stewards did not see any fault from either driver – and Alonso, who had calmed down after the race, accepted that it was an innocent first lap collision.
The 41-year-old was accused by fans of being bitter over his time as Hamilton’s team-mate during the Mercedes driver’s breakout year in 2007, at the end of which the pair finished level on points, one point behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
There was a fair bit of needle between the two drivers 15 years ago, and it was thought that this had carried over to now.
But a picture of Alonso and Hamilton stood together in Mercedes’ hospitality ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix might suggest otherwise.
Hamilton had given Alonso a signed cap by way of apology for the crash, and the latter told Motorsport.com of the respect he has for his old rival.
“First of all, Lewis is a champion, he’s a legend of our time,” he explained.
“And then when you say something – and I’m sorry to repeat this – against a British driver, there is huge media involvement after that.
“They’ve been saying a lot of things to Checo [Perez], to Carlos [Sainz], to me.
“If you say something to a Latin driver, everything’s a little bit more fun, when you say something to others, it’s a little bit more serious.
“But anyway yes, I apologise, I was not thinking what I said.
“I don’t think that there was much to blame in that moment, to be honest, looking at the replays and everything, because it’s a first-lap incident, we are all very close together.”
The 32-time race winner also confirmed that he does not actually believe Hamilton’s race craft can be called into question.
“No, no, no, I don’t believe [that], I mean, it’s not that I believe or don’t believe, there are facts that it is not that way,” added Alonso.
“So, it’s something that you say in the heat of the moment, but as I said, nothing that I said is true, or there are facts that are completely the opposite, so I have huge respect.”
The soon-to-be Aston Martin driver stated his intention to apologise to Hamilton in person.
“I will hopefully when we are doing the TV pen I will approach him and say sorry if he understood in that way,” said Alonso.
“I have absolutely no problems with him and, as I said, I have huge respect for him.”
Hamilton and Alonso sit sixth and ninth, respectively, in the Drivers’ Standings.