Fernando Alonso was regarded as, and still is referred to as, one of the best drivers in the world. So, back in 2007, McLaren pounced on him straight away and recruited him to the team. To further shore up their offense, the Woking team roped in fresh-faced rookie Lewis Hamilton.
However, as the season progressed and Hamilton proved his worth, Alonso realised that that the Brit was a legitimate threat. Their rivalry was fierce and bubbled alarmingly, until it came to a head. The breaking point was the 2007 Hungarian GP qualifying session. That alone triggered their downfall and cost McLaren two titles. In the end, another loss was that the two-time world champion left to return to Renault.
When he joined McLaren, Alonso expected the No 1 driver status and superiority. He managed to get his way on a few occasions, until Hamilton really got his head down.
Qualifying at the Hungarian GP got underway and McLaren had a system whereby one driver would have the advantage of an extra lap’s worth of fuel. On that occasion, it was Alonso’s turn to lead the way in qualifying.
However, Lewis Hamilton had other ideas and refused to let his team-mate pass. His defence was that Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen would then get through on both of them. A furious Alonso duly plotted his nefarious revenge and executed it.
Hamilton was leading initially, but the final flying laps were sure to be quicker. McLaren double-stacked both cars in the pits, holding Alonso for around 20 seconds with Hamilton stuck behind. Alonso was released with one minute and 48 seconds left in the session, which would allow both drivers plenty of time to complete their low-fuel laps.
However, the Spaniard was not budging, and when he finally did, Hamilton was held up by 10 seconds. The end result was that the British driver could not make it in time to start his final flying lap. To further rub salt, lime and spice in the would, Alonso snatched pole by a mere 0.107seconds.
Afterwards, a fuming Lewis Hamilton was asked as to how long he missed out on setting a final quick lap. He bitterly quipped, “about the same amount of time I was held up in the pit stop.”