Surtees and Warwick weigh in on Hamilton debate

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Lewis Hamilton’s behavior and comments across the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend have certainly ruffled a few feathers, with John Surtees and Derek Warwick becoming the latest figures to condemn his actions.

Hamilton was left fuming after losing pole position to teammate Nico Rosberg under controversial circumstances. Whilst on provisional pole, Rosberg made a mistake on his final flying lap, taking to the slip road at Mirabeau after locking up.

However, this brought out the yellow flags, and meant that none of the drivers behind him – including Hamilton – could improve their time.

Rosberg denied doing it deliberately, and despite the stewards agreeing with him after an investigation, Hamilton seemed sure that it was an intentional move to deny him pole position. He went on to finish the race in second place behind Rosberg, but did not congratulate the German on the podium.

Derek Warwick was the lead FIA driver steward in Monaco, and told British newspaper the Daily Mail that Hamilton should “man up” and accept the decision his team made.

“I understand that Lewis was upset,” Warwick said. “Possibly he would have gone faster than Nico on that lap. Arguably the incident cost him the grand prix.

“I don’t want to give him advice really. He has won umpteen races and a world championship, but if I were to say anything, it would be to man up and concentrate on the next race in Canada.

“We had all Mercedes’s data, including Lewis’s data to overlay on Nico’s. We had the FIA data. We had onboard shots, overhead shots, circuit shots. We had throttle traces, braking traces, everything we needed to make, hopefully, the right decision.”

John Surtees concurred with Warwick, saying that Hamilton’s behavior in the wake of the defeat was disappointing.

“I have no doubt about Lewis Hamilton’s driving ability, but I didn’t like what I saw and heard from Monaco,” the 1964 world champion wrote in his column for Motor Sport Magazine. “I can understand the frustration that Lewis must have felt in not having that opportunity on the last lap of qualifying to get pole.

“But I think his reaction to his teammate and team was wrong.”

General consensus in the paddock is that Rosberg’s error was exactly that – an error – and that Hamilton’s frosty reaction was a little uncalled for. However, in the bid to win a second world title, the Briton is clearly pushing as hard as possible.

It will be interesting to see how the intra-team relationship has changed by the time of the next race in Canada, but judging by the fall-out in Monaco, we could be set for a spectacular battle at Mercedes in 2014.

Plans for Alonso sports car debut in Rolex 24 gathering speed

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Plans for McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso to appear in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona are gathering speed as the two-time World Champion angles for a drive at Le Mans in 2018.

Alonso announced on Thursday he had signed a new, multi-year deal to remain with McLaren in F1, but has left the door open to continue his pursuit of the Triple Crown of Motorsport and become just the second driver in history to complete it.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice and made his Indianapolis 500 debut this year, retiring with an engine issue, and has made no secret of his ambition to race at Le Mans one day.

With no date clashes, the possibility exists for Alonso to race at Le Mans in 2018, potentially with Toyota in the LMP1 class following McLaren’s split with Honda.

However, Alonso could make his 24-hour race debut five months earlier, with reports emerging on Thursday that he could be in line to appear in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

First reported by Sportscar365, Alonso could be set to race for McLaren executive director Zak Brown’s team, United Autosports, at Daytona in January, with no clashes existing with his F1 commitments.

Alonso remained coy when asked about the chances of him appearing at Daytona, but admitted additional preparation for a possible Le Mans appearance would be of interest.

“For the Indy 500 it was a nice experience, I felt very competitive but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, from no testing, not any similar race before it,” Alonso said, as quoted by Reuters.

“If I want to prepare Le Mans, maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better than I prepared the Indy 500.”

He added more about his other race program in Thursday’s pre-race Paddock Pass episode, speaking to NBCSN. “To be the best driver in the world you have to win in different series at different times. It’s possible I can compete in different races next year,” he said.

Brown said he would be happy to field Alonso at Daytona, and confirmed their pair had already loosely discussed it.

“If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily,” Brown said.

“We’ve started joking around about it, and we saw where jokes got us last time,” he added, referencing the eventual entry to the Indy 500.

United Autosports will field two Ligier JS P217 cars at Daytona in January, and has already confirmed ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta, McLaren junior Lando Norris, American endurance racer Will Owen and British youngster Philip Hanson in seats.

McLaren reserve and 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button had been linked with a drive for United Autosports at Daytona, but Brown confirmed to Sportscar365 this was no longer an option.

“Jenson won’t be driving for us. I don’t know what he’s going to be doing,” Brown said.

“I thought he was going to be in the Penske car. Not sure what happened there.”