Former Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug recalled the controversial 2007 Hungarian GP and admits he looked like an idiot at a press conference trying to explain the inexplicable, and Pedro de la Rosa believes Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso made the strongest driving lineup in Formula One history.
Haug was at the forefront of Mercedes motorsport activities in the era of Hakkinen and Coulthard, but also during the controversial 2007 season in which two-time world champion Alonso and exciting debutant Hamilton drove for McLaren, and McLaren was extremely fast and reliable, for the first time since 1998.
McLaren’s drivers spent most of the season in the top two in the drivers ’standings but were eventually beaten by Raikkonen in a Ferrari in the final race for a point while McLaren was stripped of all constructor points due to possession of Ferrari data in the Spygate affair.
Alonso kept Hamilton in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix after Hamilton did not let Alonso on the track even though it was Alonso's turn to start as the leader in the qualifiers that weekend, and the FIA punished Alonso with five places at the start of the race while Hamilton started first.
“We could have achieved more, that’s for sure,” Haug said of that season. “Surely we could have survived without the saga in qualifying in Hungary, remember? That was one of the reasons. " "We had several reasons why the drivers failed to win the title and we were penalized for it because they both eventually lost the title by one point."
"I do not suffer because of it today, but at that time I suffered a lot. In a normal situation, you need to beat your opponents, not yourself. But beating myself is a lesson I’ve learned and it hurts a thousand times more.
But sometimes you can't avoid it. "
De la Rosa on McLaren's duo
Haug was at a press conference after qualifying in Hungary and says he looked like an idiot because he had to try to explain something that can’t be explained.
"Of course we got a lot of criticism. In Hungary, I was in the middle of a post-qualification press conference trying to explain what happened, trying to explain something that couldn't be explained." “Ron [Dennis] used to be at conferences, sometimes it was my turn in Hungary.
I looked like an idiot, of course. How could I explain something like that? ” Pedro de la Rosa, who was McLaren’s test and backup driver in 2007, had a chance to see first-hand how Hamilton and Alonso to work and believes it is the strongest driving lineup in Formula 1 of all time.
“I was surprised how it all exploded,” de la Rosa said. “If we look back, that driving lineup is probably the strongest that has ever existed. Ever." "Yes, I always think that new generations are stronger.
I have nothing against Senna and Prost, they are my heroes, forever, but that level - Fernando / Lewis - was amazing. " "I remember looking at their data and thinking 'these guys are from another planet.'
But I still didn't expect their relationship to explode. Too bad for that. ” "Because those guys could have brought so many titles for McLaren."