WATCH: Fernando Alonso’s Very Cheeky Radio Exchange Fueling Verstappen-Hamilton F1 Battle in Abu Dhabi

Published 12/14/2021, 3:36 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso before the race REUTERS/Rula Rouhana


The penultimate lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has varied opinions arriving from the entire F1 community. A part of it was demanding that the unlapped cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen remain as they were, which would have made it harder for the Dutchman to win the title against the 7-time world champion.

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On the other side of the community, there were a group of supporters hoping that the stewards let the unlapped cars lap themselves so that Verstappen would find himself tailgating Hamilton, consequently increasing his prospects of beating Hamilton to the title.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crosses the line to win the race and the world championship Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Turns out, Fernando Alonso was one of them; rooting for the stewards to clear the traffic between the two title contenders. During the safety car period caused by Nicholas Latifi’s crash, Alonso engaged in a rather interesting radio conversation with his race engineer.

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The Spaniard pointed out that Verstappen should be right behind Hamilton rather than stuck behind four unlapped cars, one of them being his own Alpine along with Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, and Charles Leclerc.

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What did the Alpine F1 driver say?

It all started with Alonso’s race engineer affirming that Michael Masi had not given the nod for the unlapped cars to lap themselves. “Ok, so he’s not gonna allow us to unlap ourselves,” he said.

Alonso responded with a sarcastic laugh. “Hahaha ha, understood,” the Spaniard replied.

A couple of corners later, Karel Loos updated on Verstappen’s on-track positioning. “Ok, so we’ve got Verstappen in P2. He’s about four cars behind you,” he said.

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Alonso soon pointed out that Verstappen shouldn’t be in that position and rather be right on the rear wing of the Mercedes leading the pack. “Yep, and he should be two cars in front of me,” Alonso concluded.

Well, only a lap later, Alonso’s wish came true, with the stewards allowing the four specific cars hindering Verstappen to unlap themselves. And the rest is history!

Of course, there is the question of whether the FIA breached the safety car protocol. But, there is also another perspective to this decision. Would it have been unfair for Verstappen had the stewards decided to let the title rivals battle surrounded by the back-markers?

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What’s your take on the decision that ultimately decided the world championship?

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Rohit Kumar

1662 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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