Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23. 25.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Qualifying Day
Ex-Formula 1 race winner Mark Webber has criticised Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton for their antics during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, branding it a “bit dangerous”.
The Aston Martin driver exited the pits for the second time on Lap 37 with Hamilton right on his tail approaching the downhill, sweeping Turn 5 before the back straight.
Alonso then jinked towards the right-hand side of the circuit and lifted off the throttle, prompting Hamilton to complain that the Spaniard had tried to “brake test” him.
Although the incident was noted for erratic driving from Alonso, the stewards elected to take no further action on the matter.
Alonso admitted post-race that his decision to dramatically reduce his speed was done with the intent of attempting to protect his position by gaining DRS on Hamilton.
The two-time F1 title winner also compared the encounter on Sunday at the Yas Marina Circuit to the former McLaren team-mate’s similar battle in Canada 10 years ago.
Speaking on Channel 4’s coverage, Webber acknowledged that the tactical tussle ended up getting a “bit personal”, adding that “we know that these two have a lot of history”.
“Down to the DRS, so they’re basically playing, Fernando was trying to manipulate the DRS point, obviously they’re into the activation onto this long back straight,” he continued.
“And when we go onboard, watch Fernando in the mirror, he’s looking, he’s looking, so long, he’s actually off the track, he’s lifting.
“That could have got quite embarrassing, but also a bit dangerous.”
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari 09.06.2013. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.
Later on, Alonso explained how Aston Martin’s straight-line speed deficit was leaving him vulnerable on the long straights that make up the middle sector in Abu Dhabi.
“We need a lot more pace to really overtake, we were a little bit slow on the straights,” he noted. “We noticed yesterday, but obviously that was the best compromise for us in terms of total lap time.
“It’s something that has been our weakness all throughout the season, the top speed and something we will work [on] for next year’s car.”
Alonso eventually retained the position and overtook Yuki Tsunoda in the closing stages to secure fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship, one spot behind Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s attempt to also bypass the AlphaTauri driver was rebuffed on the final tour, meaning he concluded a trying campaign for Mercedes down in ninth place.
Nevertheless, the Briton’s haul of 234 points was enough to ensure Mercedes pipped Ferrari to second position in the Constructors’ standings by only three points.
But Hamilton was solemn speaking post-race when pondering whether Mercedes could close the deficit to Red Bull, who won all of the 22 races bar one this season.
The seven-time champion endured his second consecutive winless year, but Mercedes will pursue a new car concept in 2024 in a bid to recapture its former glories.
Keyword: Ex-F1 winner criticises Alonso, Hamilton for Abu Dhabi antics