He thinks Zandvoort may be less suited to Red Bull’s car than Spa, however, and Friday’s action suggests it could be closer.
They share nine world titles and 135 wins, but Hamilton and Fernando Alonso still needed to make up after last weekend’s Belgian GP incident.
When overtaking Alonso on Lap 1, Hamilton clipped the side of Alonso’s Alpine, which sent Hamilton’s Mercedes airborne. Alonso felt Hamilton had not left him enough room, and he ranted.
“What an idiot closing the door from the outside,” Alonso said. “This guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”
Hamilton accepted blame and said he would have spoken to Alonso about it, until he heard about Alonso’s radio blast.
“It’s nice to know how he feels about me,” seven-time champion Hamilton said.
So the two-time F1 champion Alonso apologized to Hamilton at the Dutch GP, and Hamilton’s Mercedes team posted a photo of them together on Twitter, with both smiling and Alonso holding a Mercedes cap.
“I have huge respect for him. I apologize,” Alonso said. “The heat of the moment, the adrenaline, fighting finally for the top two, top three, made me say comments that I should not say.”
Still, the 41-year-old Alonso thinks the incident with Hamilton was hyped up.
“He’s a champion, he’s a legend of our time. And then when you say something — and I’m sorry to repeat this — against a British driver, there is a huge media involvement,” Alonso said. “They’ve been saying a lot of things to Checo (Perez), to Carlos (Sainz Jr.), to me. If you say something to a Latin driver, everything is a little bit more fun. When you say something to others, it’s a little bit more serious.”
ALL SMILES AT MCLAREN
McLaren CEO Zak Brown was all smiles after winning a ruling that means Oscar Piastri will drive for his team next year.
Alpine was in dispute with the 21-year-old Piastri — the team’s reserve driver — after he said he didn’t want promotion to the Alpine seat vacated by Fernando Alonso.
F1’s contracts board ruled in McLaren’s favor and Piastri will line up with Lando Norris in a pairing with a combined age of 43.
SAINZ DEFENDS FERRARI
Ferrari has made many debatable strategy calls this season, and while Sainz accepts the team’s mistakes he claims observers have been too harsh.
“There have been a lot of times during the year where we’ve done the right calls and no one has come to us to say, ‘Oh, you did the right call’ or congratulate us,” he said. “But on the other hand, when there’s been two or three, let’s say call them bad calls with hindsight, there’s been massive criticism.”
Ferrari made another bizarre decision in Spa by calling in Leclerc for new tires with one lap remaining — a futile bid for the fastest lap point that backfired.
Leclerc has seen nailed-on wins disappear at the Monaco GP and the British GP, where team calls dropped him down from a dominant position into fourth place and Sainz won at Silverstone.
At the Hungarian GP before the midseason break, another confusing tire strategy saw Leclerc finishing in sixth.
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports