Fernando Alonso admitted Lewis Hamilton is “the last driver” he would want to see closing him down at pace, after their duel in Canada on Sunday.
The two multiple-time World Champions started one place apart in Montreal and Hamilton jumped past Alonso heading into Turn 1, before the Aston Martin driver was able to close back up and pass his former McLaren team-mate later on to reclaim P2.
Alonso saw his gap eaten into by Hamilton as the Mercedes driver put the pressure on late in the Canadian Grand Prix, but the two-time World Champion found a way to eke out his advantage again before the chequered flag and keep the Briton at bay.
But given the amount he needed to push to stay ahead, as well as managing the lift and coast requirements put in place by the team, Alonso compared the 70 laps of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to an extended qualifying session on Sunday.
“I think it was our most competitive race of the year in terms of pace,” Alonso declared to Sky Sports F1 after the race.
“We were matching the Red Bulls most of the race and sometimes, we lost a little bit of pace.
“At one point I thought the race was over and second place was good, and then I saw Lewis coming so fast, and the last driver you want to see in your mirrors is Lewis Hamilton when he comes fast!
“But yeah, I had a little bit more pace in hand at the end, he was never in the DRS gap. So yeah, it was good to finish second, but it was like 70 laps of qualifying today.”
Alonso revealed after the race that he had been nursing a rear brake issue for much of the Canadian Grand Prix, but he and the team did not want to let on to the rest of the field that he was not operating at full capacity.
He played down its overall significance to the outcome of the race, however, despite saying mid-race that he was gunning for Max Verstappen for overall race victory.
“I don’t think it was much to be honest, it’s a circuit that sometimes you can give up a little bit on entries to have better exits of the corners,” he responded when asked about the impact of the problem.
“We discussed also before the race that lift and coast was maybe needed at one point in the race and things like that. So I was ready for that and I don’t think it had an impact on the race result.”
Alonso departs the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve now only nine points behind Sergio Perez who holds P2 in the Drivers’ standings.