RACING

Fernando Alonso: Why Lewis Hamilton considers his former team-mate his toughest rival in Formula 1

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“We had some good battles, I would love to have more and hopefully he will keep racing, so hopefully we will have more in the future.”; Since Lewis Hamilton comments, Fernando Alonso has agreed a shock multi-year contract with Aston Martin

Last update: 08/11/22 5:27 p.m.

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Lewis Hamilton reckons ‘pure pace’ Fernando Alonso is the toughest rival he’s ever had in his Formula 1 career, while the Spaniard has described his former team-mate as a ‘legend’.

Hamilton and Alonso enjoyed glittering careers with nine combined titles and 135 wins from 650 starts, while their paths also intertwined during an infamously combative year as McLaren teammates in 2007.

Although this rivalry grew so intense that Alonso quit the team after one season, their mutual respect grew year by year and Hamilton, 37, chose Alonso, 41, as his most talented competitor.

“I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22,” Hamilton recalled ahead of his 300th race last month.

“I was so young mentally and of course OK skill-wise, but it’s a lot of pressure to go against a big guy like him.

“So I would say out of pure rhythm, I think… I always say [my toughest opponent] is Fernando and his ability.

Lewis Hamilton said he felt really excited about the second half of the season after finishing P2 at the Hungarian GP.

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Lewis Hamilton said he felt really excited about the second half of the season after finishing P2 at the Hungarian GP.

Lewis Hamilton said he felt really excited about the second half of the season after finishing P2 at the Hungarian GP.

“We had some good battles, I would love to have more and hopefully he will keep racing, so hopefully we will have more in the future.”

Since Hamilton’s comments, Alonso has secured his F1 future for several more seasons with a surprise switch for 2023 from Alpine to Aston Martin.

Asked about Hamilton’s development over the years, Alonso said he ‘hasn’t changed much’ but has added experience to his talent – while choosing the right team at Mercedes – to become F1’s most successful star.

“He had the talent, already in 2007 and he still has the talent now with the experience and he was a great driver and a legend in our sport,” Alonso said.

“So it was always a pleasure to share all that time with him and at the time probably nobody thought that someone would be able to win seven titles like Michael. [Schumacher].

“But yeah, the journey has been amazing and the team that they all built at Mercedes over those years, he was outstanding.

Former F1 driver Felipe Massa was surprised by the decision

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Former F1 driver Felipe Massa has been surprised by Fernando Alonso’s “strange” decision to join Aston Martin next season.

Former F1 driver Felipe Massa has been surprised by Fernando Alonso’s “strange” decision to join Aston Martin next season.

Why didn’t Alonso stay with Alpine for 2023?

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer says a contract dispute was the reason for Alonso’s shock move to Aston Martin for 2023.

Szafnauer said Alpine had offered Alonso a contract extension that would have guaranteed him a seat for the 2023 season with a one-year extension option.

“We offered a one plus one deal. And we discussed it with Fernando: ‘Listen, if next year at this time you play at the same level, of course we will take you and it could have continued'”, he said.

“But I think he wanted more certainty regardless of the performance: ‘I want to stay longer.’ And I think that was the crux of one plus one versus two plus one or three plus one or three.”

Aston Martin is currently five places and 79 points worse off than Alpine in the F1 standings.

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