Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has clarified the remark he made ahead of last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, when he suggested that Max Verstappen’s nationality will make his Championship battle against Sir Lewis Hamilton more difficult for him.
“He is not British, so it will always be more difficult for him,” Alonso said in Budapest.
He later explained what he meant by this comment, saying that as Formula 1 is a UK-centric sport, going up against a British rival in the fight for the Championship is more difficult for a non-British driver.
“I have the impression always that when things get a little bit spicy or tense in the title fight, this sport, it is a British environment,” the Spaniard said.
“The teams are British, most of the journalists and media attention, TV crews, everyone comes from the UK.
“Understandably, there is a little bit of preference on the guy from your country that can be competitive and keep winning.
“It is what I felt when I was racing and it seems I was the bad guy in Formula 1 when I was trying to fight against, normally, British guys.
“When I saw the Silverstone thing [the first-lap incident between Verstappen and Hamilton] or when I see Verstappen get some questions etcetera, I understand his position, for sure.”
Hamilton heads into Formula 1’s summer break with an eight-point lead over Verstappen, who has scored just two points from the last two grand prix due to Mercedes-induced first-lap incidents compromising him.