The claws were out at McLaren during this past weekend's Hungarian F1, with heated exchanges between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, and team boss Ron Dennis. The latest outbursts come just a week after a preliminary decision in the F1 spy scandal and shows a usually close-knit McLaren team coming apart at the seams.
The latest tiff was triggered by 22-year old Hamilton ignoring radio orders to allow teammate Alonso to pass on the third round of qualifying. This led to a radio swearing match between Hamilton and his boss Ron Dennis, and also spurred Alonso to later hold up his teammate in the pits, eventually costing the Spaniard his pole position and the team its championship points for the event.
Hamilton managed to win the Hungarian F1 GP after a strong challenge from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, while Alonso finished up in fourth place, not being able to overcome BMW's Nick Heidfeld who took third. Fellow BMW driver Robert Kubica ended in fifth, ahead of Ralf Schumacher in sixth and Nico Rosberg in seventh. Rounding out the top eight was Renault's Heikki Kovalainen, taking the last point in a disappointing race.
The outcome for McLaren is a pair of world-class drivers who are not speaking to each other. While Dennis expects Alonso to finish out his contract, he reportedly would not stop the champion from leaving the team if he refuses to accept the idea that both he and Lewis are equal drivers. Could he return to Renault where he was a proven winner? Time will tell, but for now, Team McLaren is in limbo after a strange and unfortunate weekend of racing.
[Source: Sports Illustrated, Sporting Life]