There was a particularly tense encounter between the McLaren pit crew staff who wanted to work on Fernando Alonso’s car instead of Lewis Hamilton back in 2007.
This is far before Hamilton gained the sort of fame and racing prowess that he currently enjoys.
The report claims that the pit crew actually fought amongst themselves as no one wanted to work on Hamilton’s car.
Marc Priestley, who is a former McLaren mechanic, spoke about how mechanics and engineers at the time were dying to be a part of Alonso’s team and had little hope from Hamilton initially.
Hamilton joined McLaren after replacing Pedro de la Rosa in 2007. It was widely speculated at the time that Hamilton would play second fiddle to reigning world champion Fernando Alonso.
Were the mechanics wrong?
Hamilton enjoyed a fantastic time at McLaren and became the most successful rookie since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996.
However, he was far younger and had nowhere near Villeneuve’s experience at that time.
“The mechanics and engineers fought among themselves to work in Fernando’s garage. People didn’t want to work on Hamilton’s car, because they didn’t expect so much from him,” Priestley said.
Hamilton completely proved his doubters wrong.
While the mechanics may have been in intense arguments regarding their preferred candidate at the start of the season, Hamilton and Alonso actually ended the campaign tied on points.
Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed his maiden world championship, that too by the barest of margins (1 point).
Things were not completely smooth between Hamilton and Alonso as the season played through.
All’s well that ends well
The two drivers clashed at ‘Spygate’ and during Hungary qualifying. However, Priestley believes it was all a little overboard and unnecessary.
“McLaren could have avoided a lot of fighting by just speaking out how things were instead of assuming everyone knew how things were,” he said.
Hamilton fans point to the fact that he could very well have won the championship that very season, but rued some ‘bad luck’ and internal controversy for the final result.
Meanwhile, fans of Alonso would also be right to give exactly the same argument.
In the end, though, while the outcome could very easily have been different, the F1 community was largely happy to see the Iceman end with top honours.