F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Fernando Alonso has revealed the clever method he used in the Hungarian Grand Prix to frustrate title-chasing Lewis Hamilton. Alonso has said that he was watching the big screens around the track while trying to help his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon get his first F1 race win.
After a chaotic start to the race and some poor decision making by Mercedes had left Hamilton dead last, the Englishman soon made his way through the field and was looking ominously faster than everyone else as the final stages approached.
Alonso was determined not to let Hamilton overtake him easily, and employed some impressive defensive tactics to hold-off his great rival from years gone by. Alonso and Hamilton had been teammates at McLaren in 2007 but the Spaniard fell out with the team and left.
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After the race, Alonso said that he was keeping track of the race situation on his own, and used that information in his incredible defensive effort. He said: “On the fight, no the team didn’t tell me anything, but I knew more or less what the situation of the race was.
“I was looking at the big screens. I knew Esteban and Vettel were fighting, they were two corners in front of us and with 20 laps to the end and with Lewis coming two or three seconds faster, that was enough to win the race probably.
“So I knew that every lap I could hold him behind that was gold for Esteban’s win.”
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Alonso managed to keep Hamilton in his wake for 11 laps on older tyres and in a slower car in what ultimately proved to be the key with regards to Ocon winning. The 40-year-old said he was surprised that he succeeded in doing so for so long, and thought that Hamilton did not find the fastest line in the final corners of the lap until too late.
He said: “I felt honestly I could not hold him for more than one or two laps.
“But on the last couple of corners he seemed to struggle to follow me and then it was enough to open up a gap on the straight and defend.
“I think he learned a couple of different lines in the last three corners after 10 laps behind me and he was able to pass Carlos in just one lap applying those new lines, so that was it.”
Hamilton was clearly frustrated by Alonso during the race, frequently complaining to his team about being blocked off by the Alpine driver’s antics. He did, however after the race acknowledge the skill required and the quality of racing, saying: “Fernando gave me hell out there. It was awesome racing, pretty on the edge at least once, but great racing.”
He finished the race in third place, however that was boosted to a second place finish after Sebastian Vettel, who had initially come in behind Ocon, was disqualified for failing to provide ample fuel to stewards after the race.
The result means that Hamilton now has an eight point lead over Max Verstappen heading into the three-week summer break. Formula 1 returns on August 27 at the Belgian Grand Prix.
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