Fernando Alonso is convinced Max Verstappen won’t crack in the championship fight, as he deals with pressure “better than other people”.
Alonso has made no secret about the fact that he is supporting Verstappen in this year’s title fight, even telling the Red Bull that he “tried” when he held up Lewis Hamilton for several laps in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton is of course Verstappen’s rival for this year’s World title, the Brit holding a two-point advantage with seven races remaining.
As the tension between the two has grown out on track, so too have the mind games off it with Hamilton saying he “empathises and understands” the pressure that the 24-year-old is under.
Verstappen responded by saying if Hamilton thinks he is feeling pressure, he doesn’t know him at all.
Alonso agrees, saying he reckons the Red Bull driver is handling it all just fine.
“He seems to deal with the pressure better than other people,” he said.
“Every one of us is different, but it seems that for him, it’s not a big deal. Every weekend, he takes it race-by-race.
“I think that’s the right approach for these remaining races.”
The appreciation of talent and ability isn’t a one-way street.
🗣️ Verstappen and Stroll had a fun fan question in their press conference today, where they were asked who they'd support if they weren't competing…
— The Race (@wearetherace) October 7, 2021
Asked in the press conference fan question who he would support if he wasn’t competing, Verstappen said Alonso.
“If I wasn’t an F1 driver myself or wouldn’t have made it, I would probably support Fernando just, I like his style, how he races,” said the Red Bull driver.
Told of the Dutchman’s comments, Alonso said if he was sitting at home, he’d turn his TV onto Formula 1 solely to watch Verstappen and George Russell in action.
The Spaniard has often sung the praises of the Williams driver, who he feels is too far away from becoming a F1 race winner.
“I’m happy to hear that, obviously,” Alonso said of Verstappen’s supporter comment.
“I said at the beginning of the championship as well, [when we had] not even started in Bahrain, that the drivers that impressed me more the last two years when I was at home watching TV was George and his performance with the Williams, and Max.
“[They were] probably the two guys that I was switching on the TV [for]. And Danny [Ricciardo] because he was in the Renault, and that car was very interesting for me last year.
“They were giving something extra, and that was the reason why I put [on] the TV, so I’m happy to hear that from Max.”
Alonso picks out key strength of Verstappen
Fernando Alonso thinks that Max Verstappen doesn't feel the pressure the same way as Lewis Hamilton.