A touched Fernando Alonso denied he harbored any bad feelings towards Sebastian Vettel, insisting he always enjoyed a "pleasant" relationship with the German during his career in F1.
In Hungary, Vettel - who replaced Alonso at Ferrari in 2015 - was asked to comment on silly season rumors of the Spaniard's possible return to F1.
The four-time world champion was rather indifferent to the prospect and said: "I don’t think he ever really liked me".
In an online chat with Spanish media this week, Alonso was asked about his former F1 rival's comment.
"I heard that but it’s not true at all," he said.
"I feel bad that he thinks like that. We always respected each other and had a very pleasant relationship. Perhaps it was because of the press, the situation, but I repeat that it’s the opposite."
Alonso played down speculation of his return to the F1 battlefield.
"I’ve been a little surprised by how many people have talked about it recently," he said.
"All the dreams I had in F1 I had the immense luck to fulfil. Actually, it was even more than I dreamed.
"I had the best first half of the season possible. I won a world championship, Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans. If one day I want to come back, you will know it.
Regarding his future plans, the 38-year-old revealed that his next big challenge "force me to devote myself to it for several months".
The comment prompted pundits to suggest that a shot at the grueling Dakar rally with Toyota was on the cards.
"If it was easy, it would not be fun," he teased.