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Formula 1 Hungarian GP

Brawn lauds "tough" Alonso's defence against Hamilton in Hungary F1

Ross Brawn believes that Fernando Alonso’s “tough” defensive moves in Hungary were fair despite sparking an in-race complaint from Lewis Hamilton, making for a “brilliant” Formula 1 battle.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Having dropped to last with a delayed switch from intermediates to slicks at the race restart, Hamilton was lapping almost four seconds faster than the leaders after making his third and final stop, giving him a chance to fight for a ninth Hungarian Grand Prix win. 

But Hamilton’s charge was halted when he closed up on Alpine driver Alonso for fourth place, the Spaniard successfully managing to keep the Mercedes at bay for 10 laps and play a crucial role in team-mate Esteban Ocon’s eventual victory.

Alonso managed to place his car perfectly at the exit of Turn 2 for a number of laps to stop Hamilton getting the cutback for Turn 3 or a run into Turn 4, frustrating the Briton.

Hamilton complained about one of Alonso’s aggressive moves over the radio, but the stewards did not see a need to take any action.

PLUS: The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Writing in his regular post-race column, F1 managing director for motorsport Brawn lauded the “battle royale” between Hamilton and Alonso - who boast a combined nine world championships - and said he saw nothing wrong in the defensive moves.

“I’m glad Fernando won Driver of the Day, because I want to give him my vote as well,” Brawn said.

“It was a great performance. One of the Alpine drivers was going to get this award and it probably swung from Esteban to Fernando with that battle.

"What you see when Fernando is involved in F1 are incredibly tough battles, but you always know he is going to be fair.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“I know Lewis was moaning a bit at one stage about Fernando’s defence, but I didn’t think it was a problem. Fernando was tough and fair and always gave just about enough space, which is what you have to do.

“It was a brilliant battle and hopefully a taste of what is to come in the second half of the season.”

Hamilton only managed to overtake Alonso when the Alpine driver made a small mistake into Turn 1, but then quickly charged past Carlos Sainz Jr ahead to take third on-track, which became second in the final results after Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification.

Insight: Why Vettel's fuel sample failure happened and what comes next

Reflecting on the battle after the race, Hamilton said that it had been “amazing”, but felt Alonso had pushed the limit of what was fair.

“It really, really was fantastic,” Hamilton said. “I wish the cars could follow closer and [I’m] excited for what the cars are like next year. Hopefully that eradicates a lot of that bad drafting that we have here.

“It’s a really difficult circuit to overtake on in general, and to follow, particularly in that last sector, but great, great wheel-to-wheel battles.

“It literally was wheel-to-wheel at least once. I don’t really have much more to say about it.

“When you’re racing against a two-time world champion, he probably is one of the hardest drivers, but fair. I’d say today was a little bit on the limit.”

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