The long-running rivalry between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton dates back to 2007 when both drivers ended up on the same team at McLaren. It was a momentous occasion as Hamilton started his rookie season while Alonso joined the team fresh from his triumphs at Renault, making it a dream partnership for McLaren.
However, as the season progressed, their relationship took a tumultuous turn. Disagreements between Alonso and Hamilton escalated to a spectacle point, exacerbated by Alonso’s involvement in the infamous “Spygate” scandal. Eventually, the duo parted ways at the end of this year, each following separate paths.
Although Alonso’s later career saw no additional championship wins, Hamilton formed a highly successful partnership with Mercedes. This fruitful alliance led to an unprecedented eight constructors’ titles and an additional six drivers’ championships, solidifying Hamilton’s position as a dominant force in Formula 1.
Despite their difficult history, Alonso openly admits that he still has “respect” for the seven-time champion. In fact, he eagerly awaits the battles between them on the track, reveling in the competitive spirit that continues to fuel their rivalry.
“I have a lot of respect for him. I think at the end of the day we met on (on) several occasions in our careers,” Alonso told RacingNews365.com.
“This year we are fighting closer together and with similar cars, especially this part of the year. In Australia we saw that we covered the whole race in two seconds and it was just a tight battle.
Throughout Fernando Alonso’s career, a repeated source of frustration has been changes in his teams, often resulting in disappointing performances on the racetrack. One such move was his return to McLaren during their ill-fated partnership with Honda in 2015, which proved to be a disastrous chapter for Alonso. On the other hand, he came tantalizingly close to winning the championship during his tenure at Ferrari from 2010 to 2014.
In light of these circumstances, Alonso expressed his belief that Lewis Hamilton had been lucky in his career, allowing him to experience extraordinary success and reap the benefits of commanding cars. While Alonso acknowledges Hamilton’s achievements, he attributes a certain degree of luck to his rival’s achievements, emphasizing the importance of being in the right place at the right time.
“I still think he’s one of the best drivers in the sport, and at the same time he’s been lucky enough to have a very dominant car for many years,” he said.
“So when you have a dominant car for many years, Michael (Schumacher) has won seven (titles), Hamilton has won seven, Max (Verstappen) will win three – say this year – and how much we don’t know yet. I’ve won twice and in F1 you always need the best car to win the championship.
“If Hamilton had had any problem during his years at Mercedes, (Valtteri) Bottas would have been a five-time world champion.”