Lewis Hamilton said that Fernando Alonso brake tested him at 180 miles per hour at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the pair fought for position at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Mercedes managed to secure P2 in the constructors’ championship thanks to a combined haul of 17 points from Hamilton and George Russell but it was almost disaster for the German team as the 103-time race winner almost slammed into the back of Alonso.
“Well, we’re flat out at 300, 400 metres before the corner,” a clearly annoyed Hamilton said to media. “And I doing 180 miles an hour and the guy all of a sudden slowed down drastically ahead of me.”
Alonso did clearly slow down although there didn’t seem to be an obvious reason to do so at the time. The track ahead was clear, there were no yellow flags, he wasn’t being lapped and he didn’t seem to lose control of his car to force him out of the throttle.
It did, however, interrupt Hamilton’s momentum into the corner as he attempted to undercut the Aston Martin which potentially helped Alonso keep the position by keeping him close enough to snatch the place back the following lap.
It was a strange incident that left Hamilton a bit frantic on the radio as he said: “He just brake tested me. I got brake tested, like, way before the braking zone.”
Reliability the key to Mercedes success
The 17 points Mercedes secured – 15 from Russell, two from Hamilton – allowed them to secure the runners-up spot in the constructors’ standings behind Red Bull which is reported to be worth approximately $10m in prize money.
The team is in a celebratory mood for the victory although Ferrari will now secure more wind tunnel and CFD time for the 2024 season and thus will get that advantage next year.
Hamilton pointed to the team’s bulletproof reliability that has seen them retire from a combined total of two races due to a mechanical issue out of 22 attempts.
“Really happy for the team,” Hamilton said. “Great reliability and they did a great job.”