It would come as no surprise that the two oldest drivers on the grid, Fernando Alonso and Sir Lewis Hamilton, have a somewhat fiery and argumentative past, with the pair having first met in 2007.
After winning his second consecutive title with Renault in 2006, Alonso announced that he’d be moving to McLaren, who had lost Juan Pablo Montoya to NASCAR, and Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari.
The at the time World Champion was arguably the top dog in the Formula 1 paddock, having taken the fight beyond Michael Schumacher’s capability in 2005 and 2006; however, 2007 would prove to be one of Alonso’s dirtiest and despicable seasons in his incredible F1 career.
Alonso was joined at the Woking-based team by a certain 2006 GP2 (known now as Formula 2) World Champion, Hamilton.
Team orders clearly weren’t a factor at McLaren, as Alonso quickly discovered that he had alongside him at McLaren a driver who would break all sorts of records.
The pair both stood on the podium at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, meaning Hamilton claimed an astonishing podium on his debut in the sport.
That season, the now 37-year-old, stood on the podium an unbelievable nine consecutive times, a new record for a rookie driver.
Hamilton claimed his first pole position and victory at the Canadian GP, before claiming a further three victories during the season.
It saw Hamilton match Alonso’s four victories in 2007, all whilst being a rookie.
The duo both found themselves involved in a three-way championship battle with Raikkonen, which became dirty at the penultimate round at China.
Alonso remained in the team’s pit-slot long enough to ensure that Hamilton, who was queuing behind, wasn’t able to produce a final lap in qualifying.
Somewhat comically, Hamilton’s first lap was still good enough for pole.
Through mistakes of their own, Raikkonen beat the McLaren duo to the 2007 World Championship, which resulted in Alonso quickly aborting the British team in order to return to Renault.
It’s rare for a rookie to not only move into a championship-winning side, yet alone to be in contention for the title whilst alongside a double World Champion.
Ex-McLaren employee Marc Priestley has revealed in the PitStop podcast that Alonso used some extraordinary tactics during the season to disrupt the British driver’s progress.
“One of Fernando’s tactics is to try and bring the whole team over to his side of the garage, and Fernando’s manager, or his trainer, he’s handing out little brown envelopes stuffed with cash to everybody who wasn’t on Lewis’ car,” shockingly revealed Priestley.
“We all got these little brown envelopes and I…” Priestley said, before being interrupted by the host.
“How much was in there?” asked the host.
“Like €1500 or something,” Priestley exclaimed.