Fernando Alonso picked over Hamilton and Verstappen as ‘most complete driver on Earth’

Sam Cooper
Fernando Alonso smiling wearing sunglasses. Miami, May 2023.

Fernando Alonso smiling wearing sunglasses. Miami, May 2023.

Fernando Alonso has been selected over Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as the “most complete driver on Earth.”

For many people, the 2022 season was enough to solidify Verstappen as currently the best driver on the grid with his 15 of 22 wins and a second consecutive world title but it is still a matter of opinion.

For some, Lewis Hamilton with his record wins and seven Drivers’ Championships is the best while another driver who is enjoying a new lease of life at Aston Martin remains some people’s favourite, that driver being Fernando Alonso.

Alonso may not have the titles of Hamilton or the records of Verstappen but he still ranks highly amongst F1 staff, media and fans and one person who puts him above all is the former Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul.

The Frenchman, who since departing F1 in 2020 now works as team principal for Hyundai Motorsport, said Alonso was the “most complete driver on Earth.”

“They are very involved, professional, disciplined and rational drivers,” Abiteboul told Spanish newspaper AS of the two former Spaniards he was in charge of, Alonso and Carlos Sainz. “At the same time they are Latinos and I have a good connection with that kind of people.

“Carlos is impressive for his attention to all the details, in particular the mechanical part of the car, as if he was an engineer, and he has helped to improve the car since he was at Toro Rosso.

“Fernando needs no introduction. He is probably the most complete driver on earth and it is a joy to see him back at the top of Formula 1.”

The fact Abiteboul picked Alonso over a Red Bull driver will come as no surprise with the former Renault boss not enjoying a healthy relationship with the Milton Keynes outfit during his time in F1. With Renault as supplier of Red Bull’s engines at the time, both he and Christian Horner would often engage in a war of words during press conferences.

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Sebastian Vettel may have won his four consecutive titles with a Renault engine in his car but Red Bull believed it was a hindrance rather than a help and the French outfit were less than thrilled with the lack of coverage they received during those years of success.

Abiteboul was brought in midway through the 2014 season, the first of Mercedes’ eight consecutive titles, and it was during this period that the relationship between both parties would deteriorate beyond repair.

Reanult entered 2014 with high hopes that they would benefit from the switch to turbocharged engines but in reality they lacked not only performance but reliability as well. Horner and Red Bull became more frustrated with their power unit issues causing Horner to state “we’ve been paying for a first class ticket and you get an economy seat.”

Red Bull eventually dropped Renault, instead switching to Honda who would go on to power their 2021 title win, while Renault are now providing just one team with engines, their own Alpine.