The Monaco Grand Prix is the race that every F1 driver dreams of winning one day. The maximum exponent of luxury and glamor that surrounds the ‘Great Circus’, a historical place and magic, it is remembered among many other things for the great successes of Ayrton senna. When wanting to remember an image of F1 in its streets it is impossible not to travel mentally to the Brazilian McLaren cockpit, who holds the highest number of poles (5) and victories (6) on this track. A circuit of hands where the paulista gave authentic lessons. But that memory, especially for Spanish fans, is intertwined with a more recent one that also remains very clear in everyone’s memory: ehe day that Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton declared war definitively as partners in the Woking team.
It was in the 2007 Monaco GP. The Spanish, newcomer to McLaren as reigning two-time F1 champion, was next to a ‘rookie’ in F1 without complexes and with an excessive ambition, a Lewis hamilton that at 22 years old he came to F1 with the sole desire to destroy everything and that he also did it with the full support of Mclaren Y Mercedes. It was the ‘child’ in the eyes of Ron Dennis and the signature of the star and this was clear in what ended up happening, known to all. But first, Fernando had to realize the turbulent year that he would live slowly, starting with the first race of that year, in Melbourne. That day, the pit stops already hurt the Asturian in Australia Y LewisIn his later words, he made his intention clear: “What can I say: I led my debut race (between laps 19 and 22), I reached the podium and I don’t know what happened at the second pit stop. But I am very happy ”. It was going to be a difficult year for Alonso. It was clear when in Melbourne, in the box Mclaren all celebrated the overtaking in the departure from English to Spanish. This could not end well, and it was clearly seen in Monaco 2007, a career that Pedro de la Rosa, then in Mclaren, defined as the beginning of everything.
“Things started to go wrong before ‘spygate’, which was just the icing on the cake that Dennis unfairly blamed Alonso for. It started in Monaco where Fernando won clearly and cleanly but in the last 20 laps he started to have problems cooling down the brake calipers, which then got very hot on all teams, and Lewis started cutting time “said De la Rosa.
“Alonso managed the tires, he was able to do it and win races managing temperatures, brakes and so on, while no one on the team told Lewis that he was going to finish the race as they were at the time, and he always thought he could win. Fernando saw that McLaren didn’t understand what he was doing and how smart he had driven ”he added, before revealing the moment when Alonso’s patience ran out.
In the last laps, the team asked its drivers to lower the engine speed to 18,000 rpm so as not to punish it and use it in more races. Fernando Alonso complied. Meanwhile, the Stevenage tried to pass Alonso without reducing the revolutions.
“When the race was over, everything went wrong. Someone on the team told Fernando that Lewis should have won, not outright, but suggested that Hamilton was faster than him. That Fernando was very angry because he could have gone two seconds per lap faster and that was the beginning of the end, they did not understand his work ”, stressed the Catalan.
Lewis raised his voice
“I am faster, I am here to run not to be second”said the young Briton on the radio, complaining about a strategy that according to him, harmed him. So he made it known after the race.
“I have to live with it. I have number two in my car and I am driver number two. I do not understand why I could only do three more laps than Fernando in the first refueling if we had programmed that he would do three more “, said the Stevenage, ensuring that he was behind Alonso in qualifying because he had more gasoline to extend his first race stint on Sunday, something that according to him did not occur.
The English press caught those words and exerted enormous pressure in favor of their new star, noting that McLaren had given the order to Lewis not to pressure the Spaniard. That even led to an investigation by the FIA for alleged team orders. Dennis responded by assuring that they advanced Lewis’ stop to secure the McLaren one-two., which would have vanished if a security car had come out. “There will be places where they can run freely, but this was not one of those”Dennis added. What came next is history, but both drivers remember that psychological battle as if it were yesterday.
Neither of us forgets it. Without going any further, in 2019 Hamilton was referring to that when discussing the team orders imposed by Ferrari on Leclerc with Vettel. “That’s why I rebelled and since then Alonso and I have qualified with the same gasoline”He said then, without anyone asking him about his past, but somehow defending his position from 12 years ago.
Alonso, ironic comment before the 2021 Monaco GP
For its part, Alonso, before this weekend’s appointment, already sent a good message to Hamilton at a press conference in which he precisely shared space with Lewis for the first time this course. “My second victory in Monaco was pretty easy from pole.”, Commented the Spaniard about that victory in 2007, where he also achieved pole position and fastest lap. After that, the tension in the box was enormous that ended with Mclaren leaving the World Cup in the hands of Raikkonen incomprehensibly, due to a terrible management management and multiple internal controversies. Years later in 2018, Marc Priestley, a former McLaren mechanic at the time, admitted that the team wanted Lewis to beat Fernando.
Lewis was a protégé of McLaren and Ron Dennis. He knew he had the backing of Ron and the entire British press for him. While Fernando came to a British team, with a British driver, and was totally convinced that the team and Ron fully supported Lewis. In the beginning, it was not the case. Finally, we all knew that the relationship had been broken between the team and Fernando and at that point I think Ron wanted Lewis to win the title in the second half of the season, “he said.
When will Alonso give his version of events?
Now, everyone is still waiting for Alonso to give his version of events. He had to do it in his autobiography, which was to be released at the end of 2018 and finally Fernando has decided that it will publish after its withdrawal.